Jack Ma, the charismatic co-founder of the $460 billion-plus Alibaba will step down from his chairman role when he turns 55 on Tuesday (September 10).
His exit comes as Beijing tightens its grip on fellow bosses like Tencent's Pony Ma, who must also grapple with a slowing economy.
The handover will be largely symbolic. Ma will stay on the board until his current term expires in 2020. The billionaire has spent years grooming Alibaba's next generation of leaders, including successor Daniel Zhang and Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu, to take over.
Ma will be leaving on a high note compared to some contemporaries. Baidu's Robin Li, who is in charge of China's top search engine, has seen his company's market capitalisation halve over the past year on the back of strategic missteps. Video-games group Tencent can't seem to stay out of hot water with officials.
Despite enjoying a near-messianic status of China's most famous capitalist, Ma has remained relatively unscathed. The same can be said for his company. Annual revenue at Alibaba is forecast to grow 36%, to $72 billion, in the current fiscal year, according to average analyst forecasts from Refinitiv, as diversification bets in cloud computing, offline retail and other areas pay off.