JACK MA: Jack Ma's Full Biography – Biography


Ma Yun, known professionally as Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate who is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of successful Internet-based businesses.

Jack Ma was born in Hangzhou, China on September 10, 1964. Ma started to study English at a young age and practiced English daily by conversing with English-speakers at a hotel near his home. He would give them tours around the city for free to improve his English. He did this for nine years. He became pen pals with one of these foreigners, who nicknamed him “Jack”, because his Chinese name was too difficult to pronounce.

Later in his youth, Ma failed the Chinese university entrance exam three times. Eventually, Ma attended Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (currently known as Hangzhou Normal University) and graduated in 1988 with a B.A. in English. While at school, Ma was the head of student council. After graduation, he became a lecturer of English and International Trade at Hangzhou Dianzi University. He later enrolled at Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and graduated in 2006.

After graduation, Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all. In 1994, Ma heard about the Internet. In early 1995, he went to the US and with his friends’ help, he got introduced to the Internet. During his first encounter, he searched the word “beer”. Although he found information related to beer from many countries, he was surprised to find none from China. Further, he tried to search for general information about China and again was surprised to find none. So he and his friend created an “ugly” website related to China. Within five hours of creating the website he had received emails from some Chinese wishing to know about him. This is when Ma realized that the Internet had something great to offer. In April 1995, Ma, his wife and a friend collected $20,000 and started an Internet company. Their company was dedicated to creating websites for companies. He named their company “China Yellow Pages.” Within three years, his company had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan which was equivalent to US$800,000.

From 1998 to 1999, Ma headed an information technology company established by the China International Electronic Commerce Centre. In 1999, he quit and returned to Hangzhou with his team to found Alibaba, a China-based business-to-business marketplace site in his apartment with a group of 17 friends. He started a new round of venture development with 500,000 yuan.

In September 2014 it was reported Alibaba was raising over $25 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. Alibaba became one of the most valuable tech companies in the world after raising $25 billion, the largest initial public offering in US financial history. Ma now serves as executive chairman of Alibaba Group.

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

In 2015 he was honoured with the Entrepreneur of the Year award at The Asian Awards.

Jack Ma is the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes and he has often been invited to lecture at universities such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and Peking University.

Jack Ma is married to Zhang Ying. They have a son and a daughter

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