Hong Kong — Alibaba is heralding the end of the Jack Ma era. A former English teacher who helped found Alibaba two decades ago, Ma outlined plans to hand the executive chairman role to Daniel Zhang, a finance veteran who has presided over an ambitious expansion and won over investors in three years as CEO. Ma will officially pass the baton in exactly 12 months’ time, on his 55th birthday, but remain on the board until 2020. He now intends to focus on philanthropy and education but also pursue unspecified "new dreams," he said in a statement on Monday. China’s richest man has become synonymous with turning the company that started in his Hangzhou apartment into a global e-commerce giant with burgeoning cloud computing and package delivery businesses. Ma’s 46-year-old successor has pushed Alibaba deeper into the wallets of Chinese consumers as it bought and transformed brick-and-mortar outlets: a so-called "New Retail" vision that’s cost billions of dollars and took it into the realm ...

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