Jack Ma’s legendary rise as founder of China’s Alibaba

Global Business

Jack Ma’s rags to riches story is legendary and has helped make him China’s most well-known business leader. But he sees himself first and foremost as a teacher, which was his first profession.

Ma spoke about his successes in building one of the most popular companies in the world. He also talks about his love of teaching and why he wanted to learn English. 

Jack Ma's legendary rise as founder of China's Alibaba

Jack Ma's legendary rise as founder of China's Alibaba

Jack Ma's rags to riches story is legendary and has helped make him China's most well-known business leader. But he sees himself first and foremost as a teacher, which was his first profession.

Ma continues his focus on education. He’s now one of 25 global leaders serving on the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. The group is chaired by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

This new global initiative seeks to develop a compelling investment case and financing pathway for achieving educational opportunities. It mainly serves children from middle and low income countries.


One More Question: Jack Ma, and his rise to success
Alibaba founder Jack Ma talks about how he got his name. Check it out.

One More Question: Jack Ma, and his rise to success

One More Question: Jack Ma, and his rise to success

CCTV America's Karina Huber asked Alibaba founder Jack Ma how he got his name. Check it out.


Who is Jack Ma?

  • Ma is one of China’s richest men, worth more than 20 billion dollars.
  • He is also probably one of the most powerful and influential people in the global tech space.
  • His name has become synonymous with Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant which he founded.
  • Ma was born in 1964 in the southeastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
  • When China started opening up in the 80s, Jack Ma decided he’d devote himself to the English language. For years he offered to be a tour guide for free in order to practice his English.
  • Ma failed China’s national university entrance exam three times.
  • After graduating school, Ma worked as an English teacher for 12 dollars a month.
  • In 1995, Ma visited the U.S. and encountered the internet for the first time, and one of his first searches was “Beer.”
  • One day Ma was assigned to an American tourist to tour the Great Wall. It was Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo. That meeting was the turning point for Ma.
  • In 1999, he gathered his friends in his apartment and created Alibaba.