Jack Ma (Ma Yun) is the founder of Alibaba, one of China’s and the world’s most valuable companies at an estimated worth of $235 billion. It’s pretty impressive when you consider that Ma founded the e-commerce giant with $60,000 in angel investment from 17 friends. The idea for Alibaba came to Jack Ma when he visited the US for the first time in the 1995 and was introduced to the internet. He typed the word “beer” and the search engine turned up no results related to China. His first search was as random as they come, but highlighted a bigger opportunity that no one had yet capitalised on in China.
Ma would bring the internet to China and pioneer online shopping for anyone with net access. He developed and launched an escrow service called Alipay in 2004 with no transaction fees bringing consumers and businesses together. On September 19, 2014, Jack Ma took the company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) raising $21.8 billion in its debut, placing it as the biggest U.S.-listed IPO in history.
Thanks to Ma’s vision, the Alibaba Group has grown from 15 employees to 30,000 in 16 years. Ma has stated that the company has directly and indirectly created 40 million jobs. At just age 50, the self-made tycoon has already amassed a net worth of $30 billion and has no plans of slowing down now. He’s come a long way from growing poor and being rejected from numerous jobs to creating an e-commerce empire. I’ll be watching to see what Ma does next in the world of business.