Alibaba Group's co-founder Jack Ma has sold off shares worth around $10 billion in the company over the past year, according to the annual filing by the Chinese e-commerce giant last Friday. This further lowers the billionaire's stake in the company.
Ma has been slowly drifting away from the company and has been focusing more on philanthropic activities over the past few years. The massive sell off thus may not surprise many although Alibaba continues to beat earnings estimates amid China's declining economy. Ma has lately made pledges to help different governments fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Slow But Steady Detachment
Over the past year, Ma offloaded $9.6 billion worth of shares at its current price. He now holds a meager 4.8 percent stake in the company, compared with 6.4 percent held earlier. However, the e-commerce giant didn't disclose the selling price of his divestment. Alibaba has been one of the top performing tech companies not only in China but also globally.
The company's shares have surged a whopping 40 percent since Ma reported last year that he held 6.8 percent stake in Alibaba. This comes amid China's slowing economy over the past year. The pandemic has further helped the company's shares jump, given the increased dependence of people on e-commerce during the coronavirus-led stay-at-home orders.
Ma Taking to Philanthropy
Not only Ma, Alibaba's executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai also has been following in the footsteps of his company's co-founder by divesting his shares. Tsai, over the past year, has cut his stake to 1.6 percent from 2.3 percent. Ma's detachment from the regular affairs of Alibaba became more evident after the announcement of Daniel Ziang as the company's chairman in September 2019.
Ma has always been involved in philanthropic activities, which has increased since Ziang's appointment. According to a 2019 filing before the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Ma has plans to offload around 21 million shares in the company over a period of one year and channel that money toward philanthropic efforts.
The coronavirus pandemic saw Ma going all out to help different governments to fight the virus. Tsai too has been involved with Ma in these activities. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Ma and Tsai have been donating millions of personal protective equipment (PPE) via their respective charitable organizations across the world.
In March, following the coronavirus outbreak, he pledged to donate two million protective masks to be distributed in Europe. Besides, he also vowed to donate 500,000 test kits to the United States where coronavirus cases have been on the rise ever since.
In January, Ma pledged to donate 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) toward "supporting and developing a coronavirus vaccine." Later, Ma donated another $12.5 million to Peter Doroty Institution for Infection and Immunity in Australia to develop and find a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus.