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To Celebrate Alibaba's Birthday, Jack Ma 'Returned To Where It All Started'

Jayson Derrick

Tuesday marks Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA)'s 20th birthday, and to celebrate, outgoing co-founder and Chairman Jack Ma "returned to where it all started."

What Happened

Jack Ma was one of 18 Alibaba co-founders, and the company's early roots traces back to Ma's apartment in Hangzhou, China.

Since its creation, the company has expanded well beyond its core e-commerce business and now includes digital media, entertainment, logistics, cloud computing and much more.

To commemorate Alibaba's birthday, Ma visited his old apartment to reflect on the early days of the company and its role in China's growing economy, according to the company. 

"I told everybody: this is the place we're going to work for a year probably," Ma said in a video from his old apartment.

"We are going to eat here. We're going to sleep here. We're going to work day and night here and we will probably achieve something."

Why It's Important

Ma's rallying speech to the first workers came at a time when just 8.8 million Chinese people had an internet connection and the country's per-capita income was less than $800, according to the press release.

Today, there are more than 800 million internet users in China, and the country has a per-capita income of more than $8,000. Alibaba also boasts more than 40 million people who directly or indirectly work for Alibaba, the company said. 

Despite the tremendous growth, Alibaba's core value remains unchanged: "Customers first, employees second, shareholders third."

What's Next

Ma announced his resignation as Alibaba chairman last year, and the move takes effect Tuesday.

His status as a lifetime member of the Alibaba partnership remains in place, and he will continue holding a seat on the board of directors.

According to Forbes, Ma will also take on a mission of reforming China's education system with his personal wealth.

Alibaba shares were down 1.93% at $174.34 at the time of publication. 

Related Links:

Alibaba's Jack Ma Kicks Off Succession Plan

Alibaba Promotes CFO: What It Means For Investors

Photo by Dustin Blitchok. 

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