Jack Ma is the co-founder of Alibaba Group, which started as an e-commerce company and has now transcended into a multinational tech conglomerate. Formerly an English teacher, Ma founded Alibaba.com in 1999 with 17 co-founders in a small apartment in Hangzhou city of eastern China. However, this was not his first foray into the world of business.
After he graduated from Hangzhou Normal University with English, in 1994, Ma founded his first company, the Haibo Translation Agency which provided English translation and interpretation. While he applied for admission to the Harvard Business School multiple times, he was rejected every time.
While Alibaba.com was a business-to-business online marketplace, Ma launched Taobao in 2003, which was a consumer-to-consumer e-commerce website.
From its humble beginnings, Alibaba group has gone on to become the most valuable company in Asia, with over 100,000 employees and has diversified into financial services, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and even entertainment.
In September 2019, on his 55th birthday, Ma stepped down as Alibaba chairman and handed over the reins of the company to his hand-picked successor Daniel Zhang. Ma continues to be on the board of the company.
However, in the past one year, Jack Ma has cut his stake in Alibaba Group to 4.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent and cashed out nearly $9.6 billion.
In September 2014, the Alibaba IPO on New York Stock Exchanged set a record as the world's biggest public stock offering, raising $25 billion. According to Forbes, Ma's current net worth stands at $ 48.1 billion.
The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have donated millions of PPEs, masks and other medical supplies to the US, Europe, and Africa to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.