The richest man in China wants to retire and return to his teaching career.

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau - RC1AB0B4CFE0

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group arrives at the “Tech for Good” Summit in Paris, France May 15, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau – RC1AB0B4CFE0


The executive chairman and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Jack Ma announced again at the Viva Tech Conference in Paris on May 16 that he would be going back to teaching after retiring in September this year. The 55-year-old entrepreneur said that he would officially step down from his position on September 10 this year — the company’s 20th anniversary.

A One Page Resume of Jack’s Alibaba


The former English teacher said that he is choosing to do so because he loves teaching. He added that he wanted to spend the money he earned from Alibaba on improving and changing the education system in China as he considered himself to be still young and wanted to spend another 15 years in the education sector.—edited from

Mr. Ma, a natural salesman and charismatic leader, co-founded Alibaba with 17 others — some of them his students — out of his apartment in Hangzhou in eastern Zhejiang province in 1999. 

Alibaba started as an online marketplace for businesses to sell their products to other businesses. But it did not take off until it began the Taobao marketplace in 2003, which merchants used to sell goods directly to consumers. Alibaba later rolled out Alipay, an online payment service, to facilitate transactions in a country where few people had credit cards. Alipay later became Ant Financial, the financial subsidiary that Mr. Ma also controls. In Australia’s Melbourne, you can see street artists accepting rewards through Alipay QR codes today.

Now Alibaba empire encompasses E-commerce, online banking, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment — and even a corporate messaging service similar to Slack. The company owns or holds stakes in some of China’s most important media assets, including the Twitter-like social media site Weibo and the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post.

Among China’s biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent. Many of the co-founders are still around, and professionals who joined the company later are now in charge. While Alibaba has become dominant in China, it has faced a tougher time expanding internationally. The company has increased its presence outside of China by investing in e-commerce and online finance companies in India and Southeast Asia. –edited from Li Yuan, New York Times

Apart from business excellency, Jack Ma is also a KOL in business model and leadership. His LQ(love quotients) leadership inspires and influences Alibaba’s talent recruitment and corporate management principals, contributing to Alibaba’s longevity in E-commerce fields.

LQ and Jack Ma

Ma is one of the most prominent business leaders to use the term LQ. People see many similarities and parallels making Ma one the best examples of a high LQ leader. Given that this is his last year as the chief of Alibaba Group, we list our favorite Jack Ma quotes and discuss how they relate to LQ. 

EQ and LQ in particular really open the door to earning the respect of others in the long term. There are many smart people who gain the respect of others. Likewise, there are many people with high EQ’s who are great communicators, who have a high level of empathy and who respond thoughtfully to challenging situations. Like Jack Ma, these individuals are often among the most successful.

“If you want to survive the next thirty years, you should teach our kids…the care of others, in this way you can survive.”

Gateway ’17

This is part of a response often given by Ma when asked about artificial intelligence and the role human beings will play in a world where machines can perform most jobs. One of things which differentiates human beings from machines is the spark of life or a soul and the energy and intention behind the acts of kindness, compassion and care. Because of these factors there will always be a need for human beings, especially individuals with high love quotients. Somebody with a high IQ or EQ could survive in the age of machines but somebody with a high LQ will thrive.

“I think in the future technology has to be fun. Alibaba has the 2H strategy for our future: happiness and health. If the advent of technology cannot make people happier and healthier, there is no point doing it.”

South China Morning Post, April 2016

We think it’s wonderful that Alibaba is embracing happiness and health as part of their culture. This is such a great way of guiding the company’s objectives and really something we should all adopt in our own lives and organizations.

We also subscribe to a work culture in which work and play are in harmony and there is a balance between our personal and professional lives

“I use Tai Chi philosophy in the business… Calm down—there is always a way out. And keep yourself balanced. Business is a competition, and competition is fun. Business is not like a battlefield—you die or I win. Business, even if you die, I may not win.”

Quartz, Nov 2017

Love enables us to stay calm and not get wrapped up in that fight-or-flight experience. Even for those who have not embraced themselves with as much love, when they’re in a company that is embracing happiness and health i.e. a company that has values that are LQ centric, this will help people not to step into fight-or-flight mode.  

“We should support more young people. We should support more SME’s. We should support more women. If they are successful, we will be successful.”

Interview, Tel Aviv University, May 2018

As we’ve stated in our article on How LQ is Healing the Workplace, when a leader has loved himself then he/she will naturally want to love and support other people. Supporting someone is love in action and what love does is ask how can I be inclusive? How can I include everyone in what I am doing so that everyone can win? How can I make sure that everyone has fair access to resources? This answer is love.

With 700 million users, 70 thousand employees and a market cap of 400 billion-plus the Alibaba business case shows that not only does high LQ leadership feel great it also produces results. This statement is something that comes from someone with a high LQ and we think it’s just such a great position.

“Don’t hate your competitors, respect your competitors, learn from him.”

Jack Ma on IQ, EQ, LQ

This is another quote that is in alignment with LQ principles. Respect is an aspect of love accessed through self-acceptance. When we respect ourselves it gives us a greater capacity to respect differences in others or those who have interests that are not exactly aligned with our own such as competitors. We can take on a view that competitors aren’t necessarily taking away from us but can be the spark that causes us to improve and perform better. It’s all about how we view a situation. 

“If you want your company to operate with wisdom and with care, women are the best,” said Ma.

Jack Ma: High EQ important for success

The energy that women can naturally bring does play a role in masculine/feminine dynamic of a business. Women naturally tend to be more caring and intuitive, perhaps because they have an easier time accessing vulnerability whereas this is something men tend to struggle with.

“Only fools use their mouth to speak. A smart man uses his brain and a wise man uses his heart.”

Gecko & Fly, April 2019

We love that this quote highlights wisdom being guided by love. This is another intersection where EQ and IQ interrelate with LQ. We want love to be guided by our emotional and intellectual intelligence just as we want these intelligence to be guided by love.

Paraphrasing “There are three Jack Ma’s…the first Jack Ma is people’s imagination…the second Jack Ma is the CEO and Chairman of Alibaba. This is not me, it’s my job. I love to make friends, I love to have fun so I want to get back to myself. Anything that a lot of boys want to do, I want to do. This is why I want to retire early, I can go back to myself. The real Jack is something that I always want to come out.“

Interview, Tel Aviv University, May 2018

It is great when we work in jobs where our true selves can shine through because this is one of the most kind and loving actions we can take for ourselves and it is something worth striving towards. We therefore love Ma’s intention “The real Jack is someone that I always want to come out”. 

This is in line with our idea of the inner child, the innocence with whom we want to create a better relationship. When we create a relationship with our inner child and love ourselves, we raise our love quotient. Through raising our LQ we discover that there is a way to build an incredible business or career from the spirit and energy of our inner child, from this place of innocence and wonder.  

Jack Ma has been an inspiration to us and there are many perspectives and philosophies we share. Many of his ideas resonate deeply with us as well as hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world. Given his astonishing success, Jack Ma’s advice, opinions and predictions are picked up by the international media and repeated many times over. We admire the fact that he has used his platform to highlight important issues, such as the importance of love in all spheres of life.—edited from Chris Wise,

The First Big Move Without Jack Ma

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has agreed to pay US$2 billion (AU$2.92 billion) in cash to acquire NetEase Inc.’s cross-border e-commerce platform, according to Alibaba’s media release.


The transaction will represent further consolidation in China’s e-commerce sector. NetEase Kaola, the biggest import retail e-commerce platform in China, is a major rival of Alibaba’s Tmall Global.

Launched in 2015, NetEase Kaola carries more than 9,000 brands from 80 countries including apparel, maternity and infant care, household appliances, personal care and other products. According to iiMedia Research Group’s research report, NetEase Kaola held a 27.5% market share in cross-border e-commerce in 2018 and Tmall Global, for 25%.


NetEase Kaola opened its first brick-and-mortar flagship store in Hangzhou in January and plans to open 15 more this year. It’s not clear whether the plan to go offline will continue after the acquisition. Kaola has already cooperated with Alibaba’s logistics unit, Cainiao Network Technology Co. Ltd., which will take over Kaola’s warehouse business and will integrate with other cross-border e-commerce platforms, according to Cainiao.

Kaola has never turned a profit because of an aggressive subsidy policy to expand market share. Kaola has been seeking financing since late last year and reached out to several potential investors, including Amazon China and Alibaba.

Kaola, alongside NetEase Yanxuan, constitutes NetEase’s e-commerce business. In the second quarter of 2019, NetEase’s e-commerce revenue were 5.25 billion yuan (AU$1.08 billion), an increase of 20% over a year earlier.

Online games currently make up more than 60% of NetEase’s revenue, while e-commerce contributes less than 30%. NetEase founder and Chief Executive Officer Ding Lei has sought to boost the e-commerce business share to 40% of revenue. With the sale of Kaola, it’s not clear whether NetEase will proceed with that plan.

Since early this year, NetEase has been carrying out widespread layoffs. The company said it conducted organizational restructuring to “further improve innovation ability and organizational efficiency.”—edited from


Alibaba’s new chief Daniel Zhang said the company is confident in the future of China’s import e-commerce market, saying it “remains in its infancy with great growth potential.”

“With Kaola, we will further elevate import service and experience for Chinese consumers through synergies across the Alibaba ecosystem,” Zhang said. “Alibaba also looks forward to becoming a partner in the future development of NetEase Cloud Music and exploring innovative collaboration in the digital entertainment space.”

NetEase CEO William Ding said the deal “will allow NetEase to focus on its growth strategy, investing in markets that allow us to best leverage our competitive advantages.”

“As the controlling shareholder of NetEase Cloud Music, we will continue to fully support the growth of this business, helping it to realize its strategic goals in the music industry,” Ding said. —edited from Alibaba ANZ Office

Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures as he attends the 11th World Trade Organization's ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma gestures as he attends the 11th World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

After Alibaba acquires Koala, its E-commerce platform T-mall will strengthen its dominance in China’s mid-high-end market, as their rising competitor PDD continues struggles in gaining market share in Chinese tie 1 cities. Legendary Jack Ma’s farewell may, in a short run, affect investor’s confidence in buying Alibaba shares, but as long as he walk side by side with the E-commerce giant, it would be extremely challenging for any domestic rivals to take away hundreds of millions of royal users and merchants from Alibaba.     

Edited by Joreal Qian