Marketing has reached out to Alibaba for further comments.
Over the span of a decade, Ma has retired thrice with the first time being in 2006, Sina reported. However, the subsequent financial crisis and Taobao being embroiled in a counterfeit goods scandal resulted in him resuming his duties at Alibaba. In 2013, Ma once again announced his retirement and the final announcement came last year when he declared he would be stepping down as chairman of the board.
CEO Daniel Zhang was appointed to succeed Ma as chairman of the board on 10 September. To ensure a smooth transition, Ma will continue to be the executive chairman of the company in the meantime. Alibaba's management said last year during the announcement that the moves were intended to "improve the firm’s governance and administrative transparency" and stepping back from business units is "normal industry practice."
Ma’s impact is well known closer to home as he has acted as a digital economy adviser to the Malaysian government in 2016. Meanwhile during the same year, he was also asked by the Indonesia government to act as adviser to boost the growth of the country’s emerging e-commerce industry.