About Jack Ma:Jack Ma or Ma Yun (Chinese: 马云; born September 10, 1964) is a Chinese business magnate and philanthropist. Jack Ma is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses. Jack Ma is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes. As of November 2014, Jack Ma is the richest man in China (HK not included) and 18th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $22.5 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Jack Ma was born in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Jack Ma’s parents were traditional musician-storytellers. At an early age, Jack Ma developed a desire to learn English so Jack Ma rode his bike each morning in order to go to a nearby hotel and converse with foreigners. Jack Ma would guide them around the city for free in order to practice and improve his English.Jack Ma did this for nine years. Jack Ma became pen pals with one of these foreigners and she was the one who gave him the name “Jack”, because Jack Ma’s real Chinese name was too difficult to pronounce.
Later in Jack Ma’s youth, and although Jack Ma failed the university entrance exam three times,Jack Ma attended Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (currently known as Hangzhou Normal University) and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in English. While at school, Jack Ma was elected student chairman.Jack Ma became a lecturer in English and International Trade at the Hangzhou Dianzi University and went on to 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.
At first Jack Ma started building websites for Chinese companies with the help of friends in the US. Jack Ma 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.”
At a conference in 2010,Jack Ma revealed that Jack Ma has never actually written a line of code nor made one sale to a customer. Jack Ma encountered a computer for the first time at the age of thirty-three.
In 1994, Jack Ma heard about the Internet. In early 1995, Jack Ma went to the United States and with Jack Ma’s friends’ help Jack Ma got introduced to the Internet. During Jack Ma’s first encounter Jack Ma searched the word “beer”. Although Jack Ma found information related to beer from many countries, Jack Ma was surprised to find none from China. Further, Jack Ma tried to search for general information about China and again was surprised to find none. So Jack Ma and his friend created an “ugly” (according to Ma) website related to China. Within five hours of creating the website Jack Ma had received emails from some Chinese wishing to know about Jack Ma. This is when Jack Ma realized that the Internet had something great to offer. In April 1995, Jack Ma, Jack Ma’s wife and a friend collected twenty thousand dollars and started an Internet company. Their company was dedicated to creating websites for companies. Jack Ma named their company “China Yellow Pages.” Within three years, his company had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan which was equivalent to U$800,000.
From 1998 to 1999, Jack 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, Jack Ma decided to quit and went back to Hangzhou with Jack Ma’s team in order to found Alibaba in Jack Ma’s apartment with a group of 17 friends.Jack Ma 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.
In October 1999 and January 2000, Alibaba twice won a total of a $25 million international venture capital investment. The program was expected to improve the domestic e-commerce market and perfect an e-commerce platform for Chinese enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to address WTO challenges. Jack Ma wanted to improve the global e-commerce system and from 2003 Jack Ma founded Taobao Marketplace, Alipay, Ali Mama and Lynx. After the rapid rise of Taobao, eBay offered to purchase the company but Jack Ma rejected their offer, instead garnering support from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang with a $1 billion investment.