Alibaba chairman and founder Jack Ma is today the richest person in China worth $25 billion, including his stake of 7.8% in Alibaba and has 50% stake in Alipay payment processing service. Ma presents a story revealing rags-to-riches. He was from a poor family in communist China, who failed his entrance exam in college twice, and was also rejected from jobs more than dozen times, including one at KFC, prior to finding success with Alibaba, his third internet company. Today Alibaba presents a live testament.
Alibaba can actually be called a conglomerate. It has set foot in C2C (Customer to Customer), B2C(Business to Customer), B2B(Business to Business), group buying, online advertisement, logistics, online payment and cloud. To make a long story short, it covers the business of Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Groupon, Li&Fung and Google AdSense.
Alibaba is so successful because it quickly adapted the business models to the Chinese reality.
They got a lot better grip on the local market when compared to their western competitors Ebay, Amazon, Newegg etc.
Birth, Nature and Education
Jack Ma was born in 1964 on October 15, in Hangzhou, China. He has a younger sister and an older brother. He and his siblings grew when communist China was isolated and his family was not rich. Ma fought with his classmates and recalls he never feared his opponents. Ma like collecting crickets and could distinguish the cricket type and size by its sound, besides he made them fight.
In 1972, Richard Nixon, the then-US President visited Hangzhou and offered visitors tours as a teenager in exchange for English. A tourist gave him a nickname ‘Jack’. Ma realized that if he wished to go ahead, the only way was through education. Thus he attended the Hangzhou Teachers Institute, in 1988 graduated and applied for jobs. He was rejected in many places and was finally hired as English teacher. He loved his job and his students. He just earned $12 a month.
How it began
Ma did not have any experience with coding or computers, but he loved the internet to use as he did in 1995 during a US trip for the first time. He started translation business and thus helped a Chinese firm in recovering his payment. Ma searched online for ‘beer’ for the first time and found no results, thus he decided to establish an internet company.
His two ventures failed, later after four years he brought 17 friends of his and convinced them to help him by investing and thus named his online marketplace as Alibaba. This site allows exporters to post listings of products that can be directly bought by customers.
This service attracted members and by 1999 October, the company reached $5 million from Goldman Sachs and from a Japanese telecom company, Softbank $20 million. This was a close-knit team and the company earned profit.
How did he manage?
Ma on getting profit gave a can of Silly String to each employee. In early 2000s, the company initiated eBay competitor, Taobao. In 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba in exchange of 40% stake in the company. This was a huge investment for Alibaba. This was the time it was aiming to overcome eBay in China such that it would be a great win for Yahoo too, netting approx $10 billion in Alibaba’s IPO alone.
In 2013, Ma stepped down and stayed as executive chairman. The company gave offering of $150 billion IPO and this was the largest for a US listed company in the NYSE. This made Ma the richest in china with a worth of $25 billion. Today Alibaba, an e-commerce china company is the biggest IPO offering customer to customer and business to customer sales and services using the web portals. It includes electronic payments, data centric, cloud computing services and search engines.
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