Jack Ma's Road to Become the Richest Man in China

Jack Ma’s Road to Become the Richest Man in China


On 18 September 2014, Ma Yun or Jack Ma has become one of the most well-known Chinese entrepreneurs overnight after his company “Alibaba Group” has entered the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as “BABA” with the biggest the biggest U.S. IPO in history. However, this was the second time of Alibaba Group in the stock market. Alibaba.com was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007, and delisted in 2012. Following this event, Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, has become the richest man in China. It took 15 years for Ma Yun to build his e-commerce empire and arrive to where he is now. Ma Yun has made his American dream come true. At the same time, he has shown the power of “Chinese dream”.




Ma Yun has a very interesting life. He was born in Hangzhou, China in 1964. His family was not rich. He was not good-looking and smaller than other boys, but he was not afraid to get into fight with them. He was not the smartest boy in classes, but he was interested in English language since he was young. During his teenage years, he worked as a tour guide in his city in exchange for English lessons. He got a nickname “Jack” from one of his tourist friends. He failed the university entrance exam twice before he got into Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (Hangzhou Normal University) in his third try. Once he graduated in 1988, he applied for dozens of jobs and was rejected over and over. He ended up as an English teacher at the Hangzhou Dianzi University.




After five years of teacher life, he decided to open his own company which was a translation company. One job in 1995 brought him to USA where he used internet for the first time. After searching the word “beer” online and not finding any Chinese beers among the results, he realized that internet can be a powerful tool for businesses to expand customer base and generate more income. When he came back to China, he decided to start China Yellowpages website, which is China’s first Internet-based company, with the help of 24 other friends. However, his first internet company did not go well as internet was not popular among Chinese people during those periods.




In 1999, he founded Alibaba in his small apartment with 17 friends who helped invest their money and labor. They gathered $60,000 among them. Everyone worked very hard in gathering the names of Chinese companies and factories. Then, they uploaded those information in English along with photo of the products on Alibaba website in order to have customer orders from USA. Soon, this business-to-business marketplace website started to attract exporters from around the world. They list their products on the website and overseas customers can order directly from them. In October 1999, Alibaba had raised $5 million from Goldman Sachs and $20 million from SoftBank. Then in 2001, Softbank gave them another $82 million in order to found Taobao website which is a consumer-to-consumer online marketplace similar to eBay. The CEO of Softbank Masayoshi Son who has always trusted in Ma Yun has become the richest man in Japan after the trading of Alibaba group in the NYSE.




After 15 years, Alibaba has become one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies with more than 26,000 employees and 200 million users worldwide. Apart from Alibaba.com and Taobao, Alibaba Group also owns Tmall.com, Juhuasuan.com, eTao.com, Alipay.com, Alibaba Cloud Computing, AliExpress.com, and 1688.com.



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