Jack Ma Biography: Birth, Childhood, Education, Philanthropy, Business and Entertainment Career
Jack Ma (age 55 years) is a Chinese businessman. investor and politician. Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba was retired as its Executive Chairman in September 2019. After serving for around 13 years, Jack Ma has stepped down from Softbank Group’s board of directors. Alibaba is the multinational technology conglomerate.
Jack Ma or Ma Yun is one of the world's most powerful people and is the global brand ambassador for Chinese business. With a net worth of $42.1 Billion, Jack Ma is the second wealthiest person in China, as of April 2020.
Jack Ma: Childhood and Education
Jack Ma was born on September 10, 1964, as Ma Yun in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Jack Ma started studying English at a very young age. At the age of 9 years, Jack Ma travelled 27 kilometres on his bicycle to guide tourists so that he can practise English. Jack Ma further became pen pals with a foreigner who nicknamed him Jack as the Chinese name was hard for him to pronounce.
For getting admitted to college, Ma took three years to clear the Chinese entrance examinations as they were held once in a year. Jack Ma attended Hangzhou Normal University (earlier Hangzhou Teacher's Institute). In 1998, Jack Ma graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After completing his graduation, Jack Ma started teaching English and international trade at Hangzhou Dianzi University. Jack Ma wanted to study at Harvard Business School, but couldn't as he got rejected every time he applied (10 times).
Jack Ma: Business Career
Jack Ma applied for 30 different jobs but faced rejection. He went for a job with the police and was told that he is not good. He went to KFC with 24 other people, everyone was selected except him.
In 1994, Jack Ma heard about the Internet and started his own company 'Hangzhou Haibo Translation Agency'.
In the year 1995, Jack Ma along with his friends visited the United States. In the US, he found information related to beer from several countries except for China. He was surprised to find no general information about China on the Internet. Thus, Jack Ma along with his friends created a website 'ugly' related to China and launched it at 9:40 AM. By 12:30, Jack started receiving e-mails from several investors.
In April 1995, Jack Ma started his second company with He Yibing named 'China Pages'. On May 10, 1995, Jack Ma and He Yibing registered the domain of the China Pages in the US 'chinapages.com'. Within 3 years, the company's worth was 800,000 USD.
After the success of China Pages, Jack Ma started building websites for different Chinese companies. However, in 2010, Jack Ma revealed that he never wrote a code nor made any sale to the customers.
During 1998-1999, Ma was the head of an IT company established by the China International Electronic Commerce Center, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. In 1999, Jack Ma resigned and founded 'Alibaba' with his 18 friends.
In October 1999 and in January 2000, Alibaba won a total $25 million foreign investment twice. To improve the global e-commerce system, Jack Ma founded Taobao Marketplace, Alipay, Ali Mama and Lynx. After its huge success, eBay offered to purchase Taobao but Ma turned down the offer. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang invested $1 billion in Taobao.
In September 2014, Alibaba was rising on the New York Stock Exchange over $25 billion in IPO and became one of the most valuable technology companies in the world. This was the largest initial public offering in US history. Jack Ma served as executive chairman of Alibaba Group, which holds-- Alibaba.com, Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, eTao, Alibaba Cloud Computing, Juhuasuan, 1688.com, AliExpress.com, and Alipay.
In November 2012, Alibaba's online transaction exceeded one trillion yuan. In 2015, Jack Ma founded a business school 'Hupan School'.
On January 9, 2017, Jack Ma met US President Donald Trump and discussed 1 million job openings in the coming five years in favour of Alibaba.
On September 2018, Jack Ma announced that he will step down as Alibaba Group's executive chairman. After his announcements, several reports emerged that he was forced by the Chinese officials to step down, which the later denied citing that he wants to focus on philanthropy. Currently, Daniel Zhang is the executive chairman of Alibaba.
Jack Ma: Entertainment career
In 2017, Jack Ma made his acting debut with kung fu short film Gong Shou Dao. In the same year, on the occasion of Alibaba's 18th anniversary, Jack Ma participated in a singing festival and gave several dance performances.
Jack Ma: Philanthropy
Jack Ma founded a philanthropic organization 'Jack Ma Foundation' which focused on improving education, environment and public health.
In 2008, Alibaba donated $808,000 after the Sichuan earthquake caused destruction. In 2009, Jack Ma was appointed as the trustee of The Nature Conservancy's China program, and in 2010, became one of the Directors of the organization.
In 2015, Alibaba Hong Kong Young Entrepreneurs Foundation was launched to support the entrepreneurs of Hong Kong to help grow their business. The same year, Alibaba funded for the construction of the houses damaged by the earthquake in Nepal.
In 2018, Jack Ma started the Jack Ma Foundation and announced his retirement from Alibaba citing several reasons-- educational work, philanthropy, and environmental causes.
In 2019, Forbes awarded him the 'Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award' for his help to the underprivileged communities-- China, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East. He was also listed as 'Asia's 2019 Heroes of Philanthropy'.
In 2020, Alibaba Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation launched several initiatives to ease the distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Both the foundation donated medical supplies to several countries-- the United States and in the countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.