Alibaba founder Jack Ma to step down in 2019, pledges ‘smooth transition’

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Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announced on Monday he would step down as head of the pioneering Chinese e-commerce giant in one year, a departure already drawing comparisons to the retirement of late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Analysts said the early withdrawal of the 54-year-old Ma, who became the charismatic face of a company that has revolutionised how and what China’s people consume, will test the company’s ability to carry on Ma’s vision amid rising competition.

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