Jack Ma, China\u2019s richest man, is laying the groundwork for a future away from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the company he co-founded and turned into an e-commerce juggernaut. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, the Alibaba chairman said he is dedicating more of his time and fortune to philanthropy with the creation of a foundation in his own name focused on education, following in the footsteps of fellow billionaire Bill Gates. Ma, who turns 54\u00a0on Monday, has a net worth of more than $40 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. While Ma sees himself as an accidental executive who only entered the business world with Alibaba\u2019s founding almost 20 years ago, he has become one of China\u2019s most recognized corporate leaders. Even after stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013, the former English teacher remains the public face of a company with a market value of more than $400 billion and interests spanning e-commerce and Hollywood film production to cloud computing and online payments. \u201cThere\u2019s 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,\u201d Ma said in the interview. \u201cI think some day, and soon, I\u2019ll go back to teaching. This is something I think I can do much better than being CEO of Alibaba.\u201d When asked if that could happen this year, Ma shrugged and smiled. He didn\u2019t indicate if he would give away his money or put it into a trust as other billionaires have done. \u201cYou\u2019ll know very soon. I\u2019ve prepared a Jack Ma Foundation,\u201d Ma said. \u201cAll these things that I\u2019ve been preparing for 10 years.\u201d Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that\u2019s become a global high-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship, in part because of Alibaba\u2019s base there. He started Alibaba.com in 1999 as a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders. With savvy deals and an investment from SoftBank Group Corp., it\u2019s now morphed into a behemoth that can make or break brands. Its customers use its e-commerce platforms to order products that last year saw package deliveries reach 55 million a day. Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China\u2019s largest mobile payment system and money-market fund. The business has more than 870 million users via payment system Alipay and its affiliates. A focus on education wouldn\u2019t surprise keen followers of Ma, who has spoken frequently of its importance to him and some of his shortcomings as a student, including failing China\u2019s national university exam twice. \u201cI was not considered a good student but I improved, we keep on learning all the time. So I want to devote most my time to this,\u201d Ma said. During his time as chairman, he has helped guide growth at home and overseas while also spearheading its 2014 initial public offering, the biggest ever. Ma was among the first foreign business leaders to meet with Donald Trump after his election. Ma has thrived in the spotlight as he became a much sought-after guest for conferences around the world, even as tensions between China and the U.S. have risen over trade. But he has also said in the past that he isn\u2019t happy being the wealthiest person in China, where vast personal fortunes have only emerged in recent years and are subject to intense scrutiny. As someone who has met the leaders of the world\u2019s two largest economies, Ma sees his future philanthropy as a way to bridge the divide between them. \u201cPeople in China and America, one thing we have in common is the heart of love and respect,\u201d Ma said. \u201cThis is a common language we have. The first tech revolution caused WWI, the second caused WWII, now we are a third revolution, what\u2019s gonna happen? It should be a war against poverty, disease et cetera.\u201d If he were to leave the company he founded in a Hangzhou apartment, it would remain controlled by its partnership structure, which enables a group of executives at Alibaba and affiliates to decide on board nominations. "I have full confidence in my team and in the partner structure which lots of investors don\u2019t like," said Ma. "It\u2019s the system which I think I have contributed to along with my team and this will be able to make the company last long."