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The scrawny kid who couldn’t land a job at KFC is now one of Asia’s richest men — Who is Jack Ma?

2 min read

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The scrawny kid who couldn’t land a job at KFC is now one of Asia’s richest men — Who is Jack Ma?
Source: JackMaFoundation.org

One of the world’s most influential businessmen and philanthropists, Jack Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by them all.

Through failure and rejection Ma persevered with his vision to create an e-commerce businesses

If few things can characterise the man known in the West as Jack Ma’s background, education and path to success, they are failure, rejection, fighting, resolve, hard work, agility and vision. Throughout Jack Ma’s life, from childhood, to building a multibillion-dollar global ecommerce technology giant, he has failed many times, been rejected and called crazy, even by his own father who warned him about his unique “dangerous” ideas that could have resulted in his imprisonment in an earlier generation. Jack Ma has learned more from his and others’ failures than through the traditional channels of education. A man of incredible resolve, Ma has learned to fail better and fail forward. Source: Investopedia.com

Jack Ma one of the richest men in China, with a fortune valued at nearly $30 billion That success has propelled him to prominence as arguably the first Chinese executive who is an easily recognisable figure on the global stage. Source: Facebook /Cheddar

Ma is influenced by martial arts, especially Thai-Chi, which he claims helps him to find balance

Jack Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that iss also a global high-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship. Ma taught himself English at age 12 and offered free guided tours, practicing his English with US visitors and listening to Voice of America broadcasts. 

He applied for college, failing the entrance exam twice before enrolling at Hangzhou Teachers College. He graduated and his first job paid him $15 a month for three years. His proficiency in English enabled him to get a part-time job in 1995 as an interpreter for Chinese and American businessmen. He encountered his first computer and the internet during a visit to a friend’s house in Seattle. With the help of friends, he created a home page for his translation business the next day and received five responses. Jack Ma was hooked on the internet.

Ma returned to China and started China Pages, a business that established websites for small businesses. He then took a government job where he met a first-time visitor to China, Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo. By 1999, Ma started Alibaba.com, a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders, includng his wife. 

Alibaba.com reached 1 million users in 2002. He decided to replicate the success with China’s consumers by building Taobao.com, a retail site, followed by an online payment platform called Alipay.

Alipay has more than 800 million registered users. Its mobile application has 190 million active users and handles 45 million transactions a day, the company said in October 2014.

Jack Ma’s current net worth of $45.9B could buy 35.8 million troy ounces of gold, or 787 million barrels of crude oil.

Alibaba’s IPO in New York in 2014 set a record as the world’s biggest public stock offering.

Ma owns a vineyard in France, and his other interests include martial arts, especially Thai-Chi, which he claims helps him to find balance that he applies to both his personal and business life. A warm, optimistic, and effective diplomat on behalf of capitalism, Ma has been known to disarm visitors by greeting them wearing sandals and Buddhist prayer beads.

Source: Bloomberg
Last December, Jack Ma made the headlines after paying $266m for Hong Kong’s oldest English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post. He is also now reportedly seeking to purchase an undisclosed stake in one of China’s most-respected business magazines, Caixin – it is part of a rapidly growing media empire that has caused him to be dubbed by some, China’s Rupert Murdoch.
China’s media landscape is changing at an unprecedented pace, thanks in part to Jack Ma Last December, Jack Ma made the headlines after paying $266m for Hong Kong’s oldest English-language newspaper The South China Morning Post. He is also now reportedly seeking to purchase an undisclosed stake in one of China’s most-respected business magazines, Caixin – it is part of a rapidly growing media empire that has caused him to be dubbed by some, China’s Rupert Murdoch. Source: JackMaFoundation.org
Make an Impact

8 Keys to Success from Jack Ma, Self-Made Billionaire and CEO of Alibaba

It takes a rare person to accumulate a total net worth over $45 billion through a devoted work ethic while maintaining a sense of perspective. Though Jack Ma is one of the world’s richest men, he has not let success cloud his vision for the future or his acknowledgement of where he came from. Ma’s keys to success are true and inspiring for everyone from aspiring billionaires to owners of the smallest businesses.