When KFC first came to China, 24 people went for the job. 23 people were accepted and he was the only rejected applicant. Since then, Jack Ma has created a buzz in the E-commerce scene with Alibaba Group. Today, the global entrepreneur stands as the 14th richest man in the world with a net worth over USD$40 billion.
Born in September 1964 in Hangzhou, China, Jack taught himself English at the young age of 12 by practicing daily with English speaking tourists at the Hangzhou hotel; a 40-minute bike ride from his home.
After two failed applications to college, he enrolled himself to the Hangzhou Teacher’s institute, getting his first pay of $15 a month for 3 years as an English teacher at a local university.
During his visit to Seattle, he experienced his first encounter with the computer and the internet, developing a keen interest in this area. With his strong proficiency in English, he then started a translation business online, which promptly received 5 responses the next day.
In 1995, he launched a startup called ‘China Yellow Pages’, a business that established websites for small businesses. After various failed attempts at getting government support, promoting the business and working several years in the ministries, he founded Alibaba.com in 1999, a B2B marketplace that was backed by $60,000 from over 18 co-founders. Alibaba.com then went on to reach 1 million users in 2002.
Replicating the success he had with China’s consumers, he went on to build Taobao.com, an e-commerce site complete with online payment platform, Alipay, which has more than 800 million registered users and 45 million transactions a day as of October 2014.
With a net worth of $34.4 billion, Alibaba Group is China’s biggest E-commerce company with businesses including Taobao, Alipay and Tmall, a platform for companies to start their online stores. The group has more than 400 million active buyers from around the world, outperforming even online giants like Amazon and eBay.
In 2014, Alibaba claimed a record-breaking title for the largest global IPO in the history of the New York Stock Exchange and made Jack Ma the richest man in China.