An optimist finds an opportunity in every failure. Flip-flops are an integral part of life. But, few men stand out of the crowd to extract the optimum from the foreseen opportunity. He never gave up despite being rejected ten times by Harvard Business School. His achievements earned him Doctorates from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Tel Aviv University, and other universities. Jack Ma alias Ma Yun, the co-founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA), is celebrating his 57th birthday today. On this occasion, here are a few surprising yet less known facts about the Chinese entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist.
Date of Birth: September 10, 1964
Net Worth: $41.4 billion (as of September 2021)
- Jack Ma Yun, who was eager to learn English during his early 9 years, worked as a free guide for English-speaking visitors and made friends with them. One such foreign association nicknamed him “Jack Ma” as he had difficulty pronouncing his Chinese name. He also learned about Western people’s lifestyle, system, and ways.
- After finishing his school education, he struggled to get into college. After failing twice in the entrance exams, Ma finally got into Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute for the third time and graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
- He started off his career as an English teacher with a salary of $12 to $15 monthly in the late 1980s.
- In order to earn more money, He began searching for a better paying job. However, he was met with a slew of rejections there. He went through 30 fruitless job interviews, one of the most notable was with KFC. However, despite many setbacks, he never gave up.
- In 1994, Jack Ma founded his first company Hangzhou Haibo Translation Agency. To recive the payment for a Chinese client, he made his first foreign trip to US. This US trip in 1995 proved to be a game changer in his life as he was introduced to the Internet (world wide web). His first search keyword was “beer.” Although he found alot many beer-related information from other countries, he was surprised to find none from China. He also tried to get more information related to China, but was once again disappointed. As a result, he and his friend created an “ugly” website related to China. However, later it failed.
- In April 1995, Ma co-founded the second company with a computer teacher named He Yibing . On 10 May 1995, they registered the domain chinapages.com in the United States. Within three years, the company had earned 5,000,000 Renminbi, which was equivalent to $800,000 at the time.
- On June 28, 1999, Jack Ma founded Alibaba.com, a China-based B2B marketplace site, in his Hangzhou apartment with 17 friends. Today, Alibaba is one of the world’s largest retailers and e-commerce companies.
- Ma revealed at a conference in 2010 that he has never written a line of code or made a single sale to a customer. Surprisingly, Ma had his first encounter with a computer when he was thirty-three years old. He found the box to be a mysterious device and later learned from one of his friends that it was the “computer.”
- Following Alibaba’s historic IPO in September 2014, Jack Ma revealed in an interview that being the country’s richest man is “a great pain” for him and he is not happy about it. He also said that “spending money is much more difficult than making money” for him.
- The reporters labelled him “Crazy Jack” because of his animated body language and the bold goals he set for himself.
- Jack Ma made his acting debut in 2017 with his first kung fu short film, Gong Shou Dao. In the same year, he participated in a music festival and also performed dances during Alibaba’s 18th-anniversary party.
- He was ranked 21 on the list of World’s Most Powerful People by Forbes.
- In 2020, Jack Ma was the Richest Man in China, with a fortune of 65.6 billion.
- Forbes ranked him 4th among the “Top 10 Richest Chinese Billionaire 2021”.
- According to Forbes Billionaires 2021, Jack is the world’s 26th richest man.
- Jack Ma was officially stepping down as an executive chairman of the Alibaba e-commerce empire on his 55th birthday i.e. 10 September 2019. “Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders,” Ma wrote in a letter to Alibaba’s customers and shareholders.
The above lines of Jack Ma inspire people to strive for more and to reach higher. On his birthday, we wish him a prosperous year with a lot of investments flowing into his venture.
The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from the Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators, or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, Sir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.