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Dec 11, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Jack Ma, the co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese multinational Alibaba, is making plans for his future, personally and professionally, and it looks bright. 

According to Bloomberg, Ma plans to shift his focus to education and return to teaching, his first vocation, before he started his e-commerce success story.

He says that teaching is a blessing. He began his teaching career in 1988, making about $12 per month, which he says was one of the best times of his life. The World Economic Forum reported that he wrote, "I still have lots of dreams to pursue. […] I want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do."

Following in the footsteps of fellow billionaire Bill Gates, Ma created a foundation in his own name, with a similar focus.

Though he relinquished his executive officer position at Alibaba in 2013, he has remained its executive chairman and continued to be the public face of the company --and China's tech industry. 

Ma explains that he fell into Alibaba "accidentally". His net worth? About $40 billion.

He said, "I’ve prepared a Jack Ma Foundation. All these things that I’ve been preparing for 10 years. [...] There’s a lot of things I can learn from Bill Gates. I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier."

Those familiar with Ma's work shouldn't be surprised by his focus. He's mentioned that he failed China's national university exam twice.

According to Bloomberg, he said, "I was not considered a good student but I improved, we keep on learning all the time. So I want to devote most [of] my time to this."

He added, "Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so 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 ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere.'"

Learn more about studying in China.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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