Who is Jack Ma?
Jack Ma is a prominent business figure and a self-made billionaire. From being a Chinese business magnate to playing the role of investor and philanthropist, Jack Ma has come a long way. He tasted success as the founder and CEO of the Alibaba Group, an e-commerce business venture.
Net Worth: US$38.3 billion (as of March 2019)
Childhood and Early Life
- Born: 10 September 1964 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.
- Parents: Ma Laifa and Cui Wencai who were storytellers and musicians by profession.
- Birth Name: Ma Yun
- Teenage Life: At young age, Ma worked as a guide at Hangzhou international hotel for free.
He offered city tours to foreigners to practice and improve his English.
One of his foreigner friend nicknamed him ‘Jack.’
- Academics: Failed three times in University entrance exam.
Graduated from Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute with B.A. in English in 1988.
- Got rejected from 30 different jobs.
- Applied for job at KFC, out of 24 applicants, he was the only one to get rejected.
- Even applied to Harvard Business School and got rejected ten times.
- After graduation, became an English teacher at Hangzhou Dianzi University for $12 per month.
Business Career: (The Journey to Becoming China’s Richest Man and One of World’s Billionaire)
- 1995 – Ma visits US, and his friends introduce him to the Internet and computers.
- ‘Beer’ was the first word he searched on the browser.
- Searches information about China but notices no mention of his country on the Internet.
- Together with a friend launches an ugly website offering information on China.
- As soon as the website goes live, he starts getting a call from Chinese investors.
- 1995, April – Raises US$20,000 together with his wife and a friend to open his first company.
- The company was named ‘Chinese pages’ that helped companies with website creation.
- Within three years, his company made US$800,000.
- 1998 – Appointed as the head of an information technology company, founded by China International Electronic Commerce Center.
- 1999 – Quit his job and founded Alibaba, a China-based business-to-business marketplace site.
- The e-commerce startup began operating from his apartment together with 17 of his friends.
- For his venture, he raised funding from SoftBank and Goldman Sachs in 1999.
- 1999-2000 – Alibaba receives funding of $25 million foreign venture capital investment twice.
- 2003 – Jack Ma founded Taobao Marketplace, Ali Mama, Lynx, and Alipay.
- Rejects eBay’s offer to purchase company Taobao.
- 2005 – Gets $1 billion investment from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
- 2014 – Raises the biggest IPO of over $25 billion, breaking all the records in the US financial history.
- Established his company Alibaba as the world’s largest retailer.
- 2018 – Jack Ma retired as CEO of Alibaba Group to pursue educational work.
- He is the founder of Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic organization.
- 2017 – Made acting debut with Gong Shou Dao, a Chinese kung fu short film.
Awards and Recognition
- 2004 – China Central Television honored Jack Ma as one of the “Top 10 Economic Personas of the Year.”
- 2005 – Selected as a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum.
- 2014 – Listed by ‘Forbes’ magazine as one of the 30 most powerful people in the world.
- 2015 – Asia Awards felicitated him with the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award.
- 2018 – Received degree of Doctor of Social Sciences from the University of Hong Kong.