At an event with thousands of employees of Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA), Jack Ma has formally left the company as he wore a rock star wig and held a guitar. Celebrating the company he founded 20 years ago in a small apartment in eastern China.
Alibaba has become Asia’s most valued listed company. The company has expanded into artificial intelligence, cloud computing and financial services. Alibaba has recently noted that it has assumed a few new core values. One of which was to “respect the work-life balance decisions of every individual”, which has taken a different direction from Ma’s previous comments that urge tech company employees to work weekends and nights.
The celebration lasted four hours long in a stadium where the billionaire had made good on his promise of handing over the company to CEO to Daniel Zhang. “After tonight I will start a new life. I do believe the world is good, there are so many opportunities, and I love excitement so much, which is why I will retire early,” Ma told guests and employees. Dancers danced, singers sang as a parade of floats that represent segments of the company entered the stadium.
Ma could be seen tearing up as the event went on. Towards the closing of the celebration, co-founders Joe Tsai, Lucy Peng and CEO of the company’s technology committee Wang Jiang wore rock star leather jackets and wigs as they performed Chinese pop songs.
Ma iterated that he wishes to see Alibaba take on the responsibility of improving society as big tech changes such as 5G are amongst implementation. “It is not easy to be a strong company, but it is more difficult to be a good company,” he said. “A strong company is determined by its commercial ability, while a good company is responsible and kind.”