Jack Ma or “Crazy Ma” is the founder of the very powerful Alibaba group. She is a personality who fascinates a lot in the Middle Kingdom. Often compared to Steve Jobs, he is indeed a man with a history like the others, but who is at the origin of one of the three most powerful companies of China. In this article, we will explore 10 facts about the man who has become the symbol of the Chinese dream …

1 / Fortunate and philanthropist

At 51 (2016), Ma Yun (Jack Ma) is, according to Forbes, the richest man in China with a fortune estimated at 23.8 billion dollars. He is the only Chinese entrepreneur to have been on the cover of this famous American magazine and is known for donating to numerous charities.

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“Jack Ma is the symbol of success for all Chinese. He succeeded, without using contacts with the government. He won against eBay and Amazon in China. It’s national pride and everyone respects this great character, “said Miss Yang, Marketing Director at Nakesi.

2 / He learned English from an early age

When he was only a child, he was already attracted to foreign countries and the English language in particular. He left every day on a bicycle (45 minutes) to serve as a guide for American tourists for 8 years. But that’s not the only reason …

3 / A key friendship

Jack Ma describes his friendship with David Morley, an Australian and his childhood friend, as one of the most important moments in his life. He was the one who gave him the name Jack because he couldn’t pronounce his Chinese name. And it was when he invited him to Australia that Jack Ma “opened his eyes” in his own words. He discovered a New World there, very different from what had been instilled in him in China.

4 / Beginnings littered with chess

We like to think that great men have built themselves, that they have this rare quality that makes everything successful for them. But the truth is often very different. Ma went through many setbacks before finally achieving the success he is experiencing today. Even KFC had refused him a position, he was the only one of the 24 candidates not to have been hired.

5 / modest beginnings

Ma is not a Red Prince, his family having neither money nor political contacts. His first job will be an English teacher, with which he earned only a meager salary of $ 15 a month.

6 / An Entrepreneur at heart

Jack has always had a creative streak. As China became the world’s factory, he founded an interpreting translation company to help Chinese and foreign companies communicate. It is this role of mediator that he will keep as a concept later on the Internet.

7 / First Trip to the United States and Abduction

In 1995, when he was traveling to America for the first time as part of his interpreting business, he was threatened with a weapon and kidnapped for two days. Ma will finally be able to extricate herself from this delicate situation and will have learned a positive lesson during her stay: the certainty that the Internet was the future of commerce, and hers. Since then, he has had the opportunity to be interviewed by the charismatic President Barack Obama.

8 / His first Startup was a Flop

We are all familiar with this word today, but startups were a concept still in its infancy in the 90s. It first attempted to bring the concept of a web business in 1995 with Chinapage. But it is still too early, no one is interested in his project.

9 / Alibaba is the product of 18 people

It was in 1999 that he decided that the world and China were ready for a major project on the Web. He gathered 18 people in his apartment and, together, laid the foundations for Alibaba, pooling $ 60,000 to finance the project.

10 / “Crazy” Ma?

But where does the billionaire get his nickname from Ma “le fou”? This comes from his crazy bet to compete with the American giant eBay, then leader of e-commerce in China. Ma created the CtoC TaoBao sales site in 2003, now a must in China, which was then completely free.

In conclusion, there is a lot to say about Jack Ma. At only 51 years old and with his group at the height of its power, I bet that we will not stop hearing about this richest Chinese in the Middle Empire.