A Letter from Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba

Sep 10, 2018 · 3 min read

Hi, here comes a letter translation again. I like to read these letters from the sight of great human. No doubt, Jack Ma is a significant man for China and Alibaba. I have heard his story about startup, so many speeches and performance. He said, “I’m not rich as Bill Gates, but I can retire earlier than him”. Today, he released a open letter and explain his thought to everyone. I will translate this letter to English. Of course, the copyright belongs Jack Ma and Alibaba.

Happy Teachers Day!

Every customer, every one in Alibaba, every shareholder:

Alibaba was founded 19 years ago. I’m so excited to announce:
This year is my last year to be president of Alibaba Group, I will retire after 1 year later, 2019/09/10. Alibaba CEO, Yung Chang, would be the next president of Alibaba Group. I will help Yung to prepare this period of time from now on. After 2019/09/10, I will be a member of board in Alibaba Group until 2020.

I really thought a lot and prepared for 10 years. I really appreciate all founders of Alibaba and the agreement of Alibaba Group board. And all co-workers with their families. With the trust and support of past 19 years, we come this day. This means Alibaba grows from a personalized company to a enterprise which based on solid mechanisms and people culture.

When we founded Alibaba at 1999, we want to establish a company to be proud of China and our world for 102 years. We knew we can’t accomplish our Alibaba for so long time. Alibaba would keep growing with strategy, culture and talented people. Alibaba can’t just be kept in few people, not to mention that no one can always be the CEO of Alibaba.
We had asked this question to ourselves 10 years ago: How to make sure Alibaba would be great even Jack Ma leave this company?
We all knew we should establish a strategy, a special culture and train a lot of people for successors. For this reason, we never stop trying and work so hard.

I was a teacher. It’s lucky to me that I can be here. I should be responsible for our company and for myself. It should be a talented young man to lead Alibaba and keep this great mission, “There is no difficult business in this world”. We helped enterprises, young people, women to build their mission. It makes us excited, that’s our true heart. We really trust that we need more Jack Ma and Alibaba.

Our business and results are not big deal. Alibaba becomes a mission-driven company. The new way of co-founder mechanism we founded, the special culture and so many talented people, these are the base of our company. Actually, when Yung became the CEO of Alibaba, we have operated with this mechanism for 5 years!

Our new mechanism solves the innovations, successors, and cultures problems. We keep studying and accomplishing these stuff. Our company could just be powerful with people, culture and strategies. I trust that Alibaba can win more with this culture and strategies.

For hard work in these 19 years, Alibaba owns the best people in this world. I was a teacher. When I saw this amazing stuff came true, I’m so proud of this!

Yung joined Alibaba for 11 years. He shows his excellent talent and solid leadership which makes Alibaba grow over these 13 quarters. He has great logic and thoughts. He believe his mission and try the new way of business model and then he was rewarded the best CEO in 2018! He and his team won the trust and support of our customers, workers and shareholders. I think it’s the correct decision to make Yung be the next leader of Alibaba Group.

How about me? I’m a busy man, you know. Except for the contribution for Alibaba, I want to back to Education. I’m so happiness for the things what I loved. By the way, this world is so big. I still want to try a lot of things when I’m young(🤔). What if I succeed again? Alibaba never belongs to Jack Ma, but Jack Ma always for Alibaba.

Jack Ma


Written by


iOS engineer @ Mercari/メルカリ. Living in Tokyo.

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