"While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition", Ma said in the statement released on Monday.
Mr Ma said recently in an interview with Bloomberg that "there's a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates", who also founded his own philanthropic foundation before stepping down as chief executive of Microsoft.
Zhang, 46, has been CEO since 2015 after serving as chief operating officer and is known as a key architect of Alibaba's "Singles Day", the November 11 event that has become the world's largest online shopping event.
The total value of goods sold on all of its platforms rose 28 per cent over 2016 to 4.8 trillion yuan ($768 billion), according to the company.
"There isn't a face or name more recognizable globally that represents the rise of China's internet and its consumers than Jack Ma", said Tanner. "All these things that I've been preparing for 10 years", he said, who is now China's richest man.
Ma's succession plan signals the company's readiness to continue forward without its famous leader.
Zhang was a key architect of Alibaba's "Singles Day", the November 11 event that has become the world's largest online shopping festival.
Ford Rules Out Making Focus Active Wagon In The U.S.
Ford, BMW, Mercedes and others export about 250,000 vehicles to China from the USA each year, Dziczek said. Ford confirmed to The New York Times that it will not build or sell the Focus Active in the United States.
The plan, announced on Mr. Ma's 54th birthday, took 10 years to put together.
Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba in 1999 in an apartment in the eastern city of Hangzhou to connect Chinese exporters with foreign retailers. As internet use spread, the company expanded into retailing and services.
Like Ma, he has worked hard to promote the company since its 2014 listing, making appearances at the World Economic Forum in Davos and other global events.
Ma is moving on with Alibaba in a dominant position in China and pushing into overseas markets from Southeast Asia to Russian Federation. "He has understood Chinese consumer needs better than anyone and provided online services to meet them through convenience, entertainment and efficiencies".
Alibaba has since moved into cloud computing, digital payments, health care, Hollywood movies and backing China's startups. "The responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission", wrote the magnate, expressing a sense of generosity uncommon in today's hyper-competitive societies.
"We address Jack Ma as "Teacher Ma" within the company, and we call each other "classmates", said George Huang, executive assistant to the CEO at Ant Financial. The U.S. Trade Representative's office has placed Alibaba's consumer-shopping site on a list of notorious markets. Such scandals haven't been associated with Ma or Alibaba.
"On a day-to-day basis, Alibaba shareholders probably have little to fear", said Silvers.
Ma is stepping aside as China's central government has shown signs it wants to rein in the incredibly wealthy companies that have blossomed along with the country's booming economy.