Customers use its e-commerce platforms to order products that past year saw package deliveries reach 55 million a day. The Chinese economy is also facing slowing growth and increasing debt, and the country is embroiled in an escalating trade war with the United States.
Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding and public face of the technology juggernaut, will unveil the plan on September 10 on his 54th birthday.
Among China's biggest companies, Alibaba is viewed as one of the firms with the deepest ranks of management talent.
"When Jack Ma speaks longingly of retirement from Alibaba, there's no reason not to take him at his word", said Silvers.
But in an interview with Bloomberg TV broadcast on Friday, Ma indicated that he had plans to soon retire and that he wanted to follow Microsoft founder Bill Gates as one of the world's most prolific philanthropists. Ma also controls Ant Financial, the online financial platform that runs China's largest mobile payment system and money-market fund.
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"I am very thankful for Australia and the time I spent there in my youth", Ma said during his visit.
Huge conglomerates like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com are to China what Facebook and Google are to the United States.
If he were to leave the company he founded in a Hangzhou apartment, it would remain controlled by the partnership structure, which enables a group of executives at Alibaba and affiliates to decide on board nominations.
Ma, who is China's third-richest person with a net worth of $36.6 billion, according to Forbes magazine, was quoted by the NYT as saying that his retirement is not the end of an era, but "the beginning of an era".
While Ma's retirement from a formal role is a milestone, analysts and industry professionals say it is unlikely Ma's involvement will change significantly.
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Ma is stepping back at a tricky time for Chinese tech firms. He was released and returned to China, although the investigation remains active.
One example of such a leader is Alibaba CEO and Co-Founder Jack Ma. According to the paper current CEO Daniel Zhang is a "candidate" to replace Ma, who plans to pursue philanthropy in education.
"I've prepared a Jack Ma Foundation".
In an interview earlier this week, Ma had signaled that he was thinking about focusing more on philanthropy.
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