Chronicle of Greatness: Jack Ma
Jack Ma, natively called Ma Yun, (born September 10, 1964), is a Chinese entrepreneur who was the co-founder and former head of the Alibaba Group, which comprised China’s most popular websites, including the business-to-business marketplace Alibaba.com and others.
Ma became interested in the English language as a young boy, and during his teenage years he worked as a guide for foreign tourists to Hangzhou. Ma failed the entrance exam for the Hangzhou Teachers’ College twice (His weak point was Mathematics).
He was admitted on the third try and he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English in 1988. In 1994, he founded his first Haibo Translation Agency, which provided English translation and interpretation.
On a trip to the United States on behalf of the Hangzhou city government in 1995. Ma had his first encounter with the internet and saw the lack of Chinese websites as a great business opportunity. Upon his return, he founded China Pages, which created websites for Chinese businesses and was one of China’s first internet companies. He left the company two years later, however partly because of strong competition from the communications company Hangzhou Telecom which had founded a rival company, ChinesePage.
In 2005, Ma created a new company, the consumer-to-consumer online marketplace Taobao (Chinese: searching for treasure). At the time, the American company eBay, in collaboration with the Chinese company EachNet, had a market share of 80% but Ma felt their policy of charging users a transaction fee was a weakness. Taobao did not charge such a fee but made money from online advertising and the sale of additional services to users. Ma’s intuition proved correct, by 2007 Taobao had a 67% market share, causing eBay to concede majority of its ownership to a Chinese company ownership to a Chinese company.
Ma is a global ambassador for Chinese business and is often listed as one of the World’s most powerful people, with Forbes ranking him 21st on its “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list by Fortune. In September 2018, he announced that he would retire from Alibaba and pursue educational works, philantrophy and environmental causes. He started the Jack Ma Foundation after that.
Today, he is married to Zhang Ying and the union is blessed with 3 kids. He has a net worth of USD 51.3 billion as at 7th September 2020, making him 17th on Forbes Billionaire 2020.
There are 2 major lessons worth noting in Jack Ma’s life. The first is that he did not give up. Ma applied for 30 different jobs and was rejected by all. He even went to KFC when it came to his city. 24 people went for the job. 23 were accepted but he wasn’t. Still, he never stopped pushing hard in order to be what he is today.
The second lesson is that he discovered his competitors’ weakness and used it to his own advantage. eBay’s policy of charging users a transaction fee was a weakness which he used to his own advantage and it led to promotion of his brand.
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Enjoy the rest of the week, je t’aime mon ami🤗🤗🤗