Jack Ma

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Jack Ma
Jack Ma 2008.jpg
Jack Ma, 2008 at World Economic Forum
Born Ma Yun
(1964-09-10) September 10, 1964 (age 50)
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Residence Hangzhou
Nationality Chinese
Alma mater Hangzhou Normal University
Occupation Founder and Chairman Alibaba Group
Net worth Increase US $22.7 billion (March 2015)[1]
Spouse(s) Zhang Ying
Children 2
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Ma.
Ma Yun
Simplified Chinese 马云
Traditional Chinese 馬雲

Jack Ma or Ma Yun (Chinese: 马云; born September 10, 1964)[2] is a Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses. He is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes.[3] As of November 2014, he is the richest man in China and 18th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $29.7 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.[4]

Early life[edit]

Ma was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. His parents are traditional musician-storytellers. At an early age, Ma developed a desire to learn English so he rode his bike each morning in order to go to a nearby hotel and converse with foreigners. He would guide them around the city for free in order to practice and improve his English.[5]

Later in his youth and although he failed the university entrance exam three times,[6] Ma attended Hangzhou Teacher's Institute[7] (currently known as Hangzhou Normal University) and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at school, Ma was elected student chairman.[8] He later became a lecturer in English and International Trade at the Hangzhou Dianzi University. He later went on to attend further education at Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), founded in 2002 by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, graduating in 2006.[9][bare URL]

First started building websites for Chinese companies with the help of friends in the US. He has said that "the day we got connected to the Web, I invited friends and TV people over to my house," and on a very slow dial-up connection, "we waited three and a half hours and got half a page.... We drank, watched TV and played cards, waiting. But I was so proud. I proved (to my house guests that) the Internet existed."[10]

At a conference in 2010, Ma revealed that he has never actually written a line of code nor made one sale to a customer. He encountered a computer for the first time at the age of thirty-three.[4]


In 1994, Ma heard about the Internet. In the early of 1995, he went to the United States occasionally, with his friend helped and introduced and understood the Internet. In April 1995, Ma, his wife and a friend collected twenty thousand dollars and started an Internet company. Their company was dedicated to create a website for companies. He named their company “China Yellow pages.” Within three years, his company had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan which equaled $800,000 US dollars.

From 1998 to 1999, Ma headed an information technology company established by the China International Electronic Commerce Center, a department of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.In 1999, he decided to quit his job and went back to Hangzhou with his team in order to found Alibaba in his apartment with a group of 17 friends.[11] He started a new round of venture development with 500,000 Yuan. Alibaba is a China-based business-to-business marketplace site which currently serves more than 79 million members from more than 240 countries and territories.

October 1999 and January 2000, “Alibaba” won twice total of a $25 million international venture capital investment, the program expect to improve the domestic e-commerce market, and build a perfect e-commerce platform form those Chinese enterprises especially SMEs, to meet the “WTO” challenge. Ma wanted to improve the entire e-commerce system, since 2003, he founded Taobao, Alipay, Ali Mama, and lynx etc. After the rapid rise of Taobao, eBay wanted to purchase Taobao, but Ma rejected because he wanted to keep control of Taobao. Ma got the support by Yahoo’s co-founder Jerry Yang with $1 billion investment.

In September 2014 it was announced Alibaba was raising $20 billion in an IPO.[12] Ma now serves as Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, which is a holding company with nine major subsidiaries – Alibaba.com, Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, eTao, Alibaba Cloud Computing, Juhuasuan, 1688.com, AliExpress.com and Alipay. In November 2012, Alibaba's online transaction volume exceeded one trillion yuan. Ma was thus labeled "trillion Hou", meaning literally "Trillion Yuan Marquis" in Chinese.[citation needed]

Because of Ma’s success, Ma kept getting invited to lecture the world’s popular Universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Peking University etc. [13]

January 15, 2013, Jack Ma issued an open letter to employees stating his intention to retire from his post as CEO of Alibaba Group as of May 10, 2013.[14] In September 2014, Alibaba Group IPO at NYSE. Alibaba became one of the most valuable tech companies in the world after raising $25 billion from its U.S. IPO.


In 2004, he was chosen by China Central Television and its viewers as one of the “Top 10 Business Leaders of the Year”.[15]

In 2005, Ma was selected by the World Economic Forum as a “Young Global Leader”.[15]

In 2005, Ma was named one of the “25 Most Powerful Businesspeople in Asia” by Fortune. He was selected by Businessweek as a “Businessperson of the Year”[16] in 2007 [3] and one of the 30 “World’s Best CEOs” by Barron’s in 2008.[17]

In 2006, Ma also graduated from further education at Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, founded in 2002 by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.

In May 2009, Ma was honored by Time magazine with inclusion into the Time 100 list of the world’s 100 most influential people. In reporting Mr. Ma’s accomplishments, Adi Ignatius, former Time senior editor and editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review, said, “Meeting Jack Ma, you might be forgiven for thinking he's still an English teacher. The Chinese Internet entrepreneur is soft-spoken and elflike — and he speaks really good English. But as founder and CEO of Alibaba.com, Ma, 44, runs one of the world's biggest B2B online marketplaces, an eBay for companies doing international trade. Alibaba and Ma's consumer-auction website, Taobao.com, did so well that in 2006, eBay shut down its own site in China.”[18] In 2014, he was again included by Time in the list of the world's 100 most influential people. He was also chosen as one of "China's Most Powerful People" by BusinessWeek,[19] and one of the “Top 10 Most Respected Entrepreneurs in China” by Forbes China in 2009. Ma received the “2009 CCTV Economic Person of the Year: Business Leaders of the Decade Award”.

In 2010, Ma was selected by Forbes Asia as one of “Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy” for his contribution to disaster relief and poverty.[20]

In 2011 it was announced that one of his companies had gained control of Alipay, formerly a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, so as to “comply with Chinese law governing payment companies in order to secure a license to continue operating Alipay.[21] Numerous analysts reported that Ma sold Alipay to himself below market value without notifying the board of Alibaba Group or the other major owners Yahoo and Softbank, while Ma stated that Alibaba Group's board of directors were aware of the transaction. The ownership dispute was resolved by Alibaba Group, Yahoo! and Softbank in July 2011.[22]

He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in November 2013 and has audited classes at the University of California, Berkeley [23]

Ma is a board member of Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Huayi Brothers Media Corporation. He became a trustee of The Nature Conservancy’s China program in 2009 and joined its global board of directors in April 2010. In 2013, he became Chairman of the Board for the Nature Conservancy's China Program; this was one day after he stepped down from Alibaba as company CEO.[24][25] Ma is the first Chinese citizen to serve on The Nature Conservancy’s board.

In 2014, he was ranked as the 30th most powerful person in the world in an annual ranking published by Forbes.[26]


In 2007, in response to worldwide criticism of the practice of killing sharks for their fins, Ma announced that he and his family had "sworn off shark fin soup now and forever." Ma has stated that that moment created a newfound interest in environmentalism that would shape his future ethos. In January 2009, Alibaba Group revised its listing policy and banned the sale of shark fin products on all of its e-commerce platforms.[27]

At the Alibaba.com Annual Shareholders Meeting in May 2009, Ma, encouraged those in attendance, including shareholders, customers and students from two Hong Kong universities, to take matters into their own hands and take action in the form of starting businesses to cope with the economic downturn rather than waiting for government or business to help them. He reminded everyone that the great fortunes of the world were made by people who saw opportunities that others didn't, and he noted that the aftermath of the recent global recession would be no different in terms of exposing new ways of doing business.

At the annual general meeting of shareholders for Alibaba.com in May 2010, Ma announced Alibaba Group would begin in 2010 to earmark 0.3 percent of annual revenue to environmental protection, particularly on water and air quality improvement projects. Of the future of Alibaba, he has said that "our challenge is to help more people to make healthy money, 'sustainable money,' money that is not only good for themselves but also good for the society. That's the transformation we are aiming to make."[28]

Personal life[edit]

Jack Ma is married to Zhang Ying[29] and they have a daughter and a son.


  1. ^ "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Shiying (2009), p. 1
  3. ^ "Profile Jack Ma". "Forbes Magazine". 
  4. ^ a b "Ma Says Alibaba Shareholders Should Feel Love, Not No. 3". Bloomberg (Bloomberg). 10 November 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "How I Did It: Jack Ma, Alibaba.com". Inc.com. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-29/alibaba-s-jack-ma-on-early-obstacles-his-ambitions
  7. ^ Alibaba.com. "About Jack Ma". 
  8. ^ Fannin, Rebecca (2008-01-01). "How I Did It: Jack Ma, Alibaba.com". Inc. Magazine. accessdate 2010-04-12
  9. ^ http://english.ckgsb.edu.cn/?q=alumni
  10. ^ Barboza, David "New Partner for Yahoo Is a Master at Selling", New York Times, August 15, 2005.
  11. ^ Popovic, Stevan "Jack Ma: The man leading the Chinese e-commerce market", Hot Topics, May 4th, 2014.
  12. ^ "IPO launch of Alibaba pushed back by a week". China National News. 1 September 2014. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  13. ^ http://baike.baidu.com/subview/16360/5414449.htm
  14. ^ Jackson, Eric (January 15, 2013). "Jack Ma's Retirement Might Mean a 2013 Alibaba IPO for Yahoo Shareholders". Forbes. 
  15. ^ a b [1], Article on the webpage of the Financial Times.
  16. ^ Businessperson of the Year 2007”. Bloomberg Businessweek. January 2, 2008.
  17. ^ World’s Best CEOs 2008”. Barron’s. March 24, 2008.
  18. ^ "The 2009 TIME 100: Jack Ma". TIME.com. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "China’s Most Powerful People 2009". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "In Pictures: 48 Heroes of Philanthropy". Forbes. 5 March 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "Alibaba Group Clarification with Respect to Alipay Status and Related Statements by Yahoo!". Alibaba News. May 13, 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Yahoo and Alibaba Resolve Dispute Over Alipay
  23. ^ "Jack Ma Is the Loneliest Billionaire in China". Businessweek.com. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  24. ^ "Faces of Conservation". The Nature Consevancy. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  25. ^ China’s Alibaba Group to ‘mobilize hundreds of millions’ for environment”. National Geographic News Watch. May 27, 2010.
  26. ^ "Putin Vs. Obama: The World's Most Powerful People 2014". Forbes. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  27. ^ "Anti-shark finning campaigns". Stop Shark Finning. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  28. ^ "An Interview with Jack Ma". Alibaba News. December 6, 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  29. ^ "Zhang Ying, the wife of Alibaba founder Jack Ma". Want China Times. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 


  • Shiying, Liu; Avery, Martha (2009). alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma and the Creation of the World's Biggest Online Marketplace. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-167219-X. 

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