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From Rags to Riches: The Inspirational Story of Alibaba’s Jack Ma

It’s been one heck of a rollercoaster for the prolific Chinese billionaire Jack Ma. He is currently the second richest man in Asia, having amassed a net worth of $25 billion.

A large source of his wealth comes from the fact that he is the founder of E-commerce store Alibaba. Additionally, he also owns a large volume of shares as a stakeholder in Alipay. Alipay is a conglomerate of Alibaba and serves as the company’s e-payment portal.

Despite Alibaba not being a common household name in his native country of China, one ought to realize just how massive this company is.

For starters, Alibaba is worth more than Facebook. If that’s not enough, the company processes more goods that Amazon and eBay combined!

From a distant perspective, it might look like Jack Ma is your everyday billionaire. On the contrary, Jack Ma is one of a kind. He came from a life of poverty to truly define the meaning of rags to riches story. Truly, it is a story that will inspire you to chase your dreams no matter how unrealistic they might sound to others.

That being said, this is a marvelous dissection of the life of one of the most humble billionaires around.

Jack Ma founded Alibaba together with students back in 1999

The Humble Beginnings of Jack Ma

Jack Ma was born in the local province of Hangzhou, in the south-eastern part of China. Ma was raised with a younger sister and elder brother in the period when China was a communist state. At the time, the country was isolated from the Western regions of the country.

At the time, his parents worked as traditional Music storytellers, barely making enough money to have Ma’s family recognized as a middle-class family.

Fortunately, when former POTUS Richard Nixon paid a visit to Hangzhou in 1972, the province experienced a massive surge in tourism. This was Ma’s chance, who had a passion for learning English at a very young age. In the process, he began giving tours in English to tourists that had come to sight-see in the province.

It was here that Ma got the nickname ‘Jack’ from a female foreigner who found it particularly difficult to pronounce his name.

His Fast Salary Was Jaw Dropping

After Ma graduated from college holding a Bachelor’s degree in English, he got his first job at the Hangzhou Dianzi University earning a meager $12 a month! At the time, he was an English teacher.

The Birth of Alibaba

Ma kickstarted Alibaba back in 1999 and with time, built it into one of the most quintessential e-commerce, as well as digital payment systems around the globe.

Before building his multi-billion company, Ma struggled to get any opportunities. In fact, he even failed his college entrance exams in the first two attempts.

Additionally, Ma revealed that he even got rejected from Harvard University as many as 10 times!

Moreover, he was even rejected from getting a job at KFC.

From an early age, Jack Ma had a passion for English and went as far as becoming an English teacher

A Passion for Teaching

As Alibaba has gained a large consumer base and commercial success, Ma has mentioned quite a number of times how he does not want to spend his entire life with the company. He hopes to one day retire and return to his one true passion which is teaching.

Additionally, Ma created the Jack Ma Foundation in 2014 which aims to improve the education of individuals in rural China.

As a matter of fact, employees within Alibaba refer to Jack as ‘Teacher Ma.’

The Growth of Alibaba

One talent that Ma had while growing up was that he realized that he was a natural salesman. That being said, he was one of the co-founders of the company, along with 17 other students. They had their first meeting in his Hangzhou apartment in Zhejiang province.

That being said, the company did not begin services until 2003, the year that Alibaba opted to launch the Yaoba marketplace to become a direct competitor to eBay that was currently making its presence known in China.

Who Does Jack Ma See as His Role Model?

While conducting an interview with Bloomberg Tv, Ma cited that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was his biggest role model. He even said that although he cannot be as rich as Bill Gates, he aspires to one day retire just like the American icon did.

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