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Jack Ma's retirement leaves Alibaba strong but facing challenges

Technology and politics present problems for 20-year-old company

| China

Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese technology behemoth Alibaba, stepped down Tuesday. Having reshaped how people shop and make payments in China and beyond, China's richest man left critical questions concerning Alibaba's -- and the country's -- path for the generations that follow him.

Ma co-founded Alibaba 20 years ago. The e-commerce giant today serves over 700 million online shoppers and facilitates 500 million digital financial transactions daily. Alibaba's e-commerce platforms were responsible for more than 40 million jobs as of 2018 and brought online shopping to more than 5,000 rural villages and townships across China.

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