Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma steps down with a rock show

Ma dressed the part, donning a rock star wig and guitar.

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Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma left the company with a bang. 

Getty Images

Alibaba's Jack Ma bid farewell as executive chairman for the company he co-founded 20 years ago, sporting a rock star wig and guitar at an employee event Tuesday, according to Reuters. The e-commerce company reportedly hosted a four-hour celebration in a stadium built to accommodate 80,000 people, complete with performers in costumes and a parade of floats. 

Ma announced his retirement from Alibaba last year, saying he was leaving to pursue philanthropic endeavors geared toward education. CEO Daniel Zhang will take his place. Ma will continue to serve as a member of the company's board.

After co-founding Alibaba in 1999, Ma helped build it into a company worth $460 billion. The e-commerce giant expanded into everything from digital payments to online banking to cloud computing. In the process, Ma became the richest man in China, with a net worth of around $40 billion.

"After tonight I will start a new life," Ma reportedly said at Tuesday's event. "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."

First published Sept. 10.
Update, Sept. 11: Adds that Ma will remain on Alibaba's board.