The co-founder and executive chairman of tech conglomerate Alibaba Group is a global ambassador for Chinese business is none other than Jack Ma. He started his company from scratch and now he in investing number of tech and e-commerce firms, with having stakes in Lazada, YCloset, Tokopedia, Shiji, Intime Retail Group and Ordre. Since launching Luxury Pavilion in 2017, 60 luxury brands including Burberry, Versace, Marni, Tod’s and Givenchy have joined the e-commerce site, which is accessible through Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao platforms.
Born to Ma Yun a Chinese traditional musician-storytellers in Hangzhou, he taught himself English aged 12 and offered free guided tours to practice his English with foreign visitors. Hangzhou Teachers College was the college from where Ma was graduated and henceforth became an English teacher paid at $15 dollars a month. He encountered computers during a trip to Seattle as an interpreter for Chinese and American businessmen. With some friends he created “China Pages,” which established websites for small businesses, and then headed an information technology company established by a department of the Chinese government.
In 1999 he quit his job as a teacher to start his career as an entrepreneur and founded Alibaba.com in 1999. It was a business-to-business marketplace for small and medium sized Chinese enterprises which was backed by capital of $60,000 by 18 of his friends. By 2002, it had reached 1 million users and acquired investment from Goldman Sachs and SoftBank. Ma also built Taobao, a retail site, as well as payment platform Alipay. In 2013 he stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer but still carried on as the company’s Chairman. In 2014 the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in the largest IPO in history raising whopping $25 billion.
“New Retail” is the company’s guiding principles in the fashion and e-commerce sphere which is a strategy to redefine commerce by maintaining seamless balance between online and offline world by building omnichannel retail ecosystem. The company has stakes in department store chain Intime, retail big-data firm Shiji, Indonesian marketplace Tokopedia, retail platform YCloset and Southeast Asian e-commerce site Lazada.
Fortune ranked Ma second on its World’s 50 greatest Leaders list in 2017. In 2014, he was the 30th most powerful person in the world annual ranking as per Forbes in May. Not only this but also in May 2009, Time magazine listed Ma as one of the most powerful person in the world in top 100.
As of 2020, Ma is worth $61.7 billion.