The Inspirational Story of Jack Ma (The Richest Man In China)

He grew up poor in communist China, failed his college entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC, before finding success with his third internet company, Alibaba.

This is The story of Jack Ma, the man who has impacted the entire economy and internet industry of China almost single-handedly.

Jack Ma is the founder of the E-commerce giant Alibaba and is a stakeholder at Alipay, its sister company which is an e-payment portal.

As of November 2014, he was the richest man in China (Hong Kong not included) and 18th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $24.1 billion according to Forbes.

If you must know, Alibaba is worth more than Facebook, and processes goods more than eBay and Amazon combined!

Jack Ma was born in Hangzhou, located in the south-eastern part of China. He was born and raised along with an elder brother and a younger sister during the rise of communist China and its isolation from the Western regions.

Jack, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English, worked as an English teacher at Hangzhou Dianzi University with a pay of $12 a month!

In his early childhood, Jack Ma Failed in his Primary School examinations, not once, but twice!

He Failed Thrice during his Middle School exams.

When applying to universities after his High school, Jack failed the entrance exams thrice, before finally joining Hangzhou Normal University.

He even applied and wrote to Harvard University ten times about being admitted – and got rejected each time.

After finally coming to terms with all of his rejections and failures, Jack Ma visited the US in 1995, for a Government undertaking project related to the building of highways.

It was then that Jack Ma was first introduced to the Internet and Computers.

The first word he searched on the Mosaic browser was ‘Beer’, and it popped out results from different countries, but no signs of China anywhere.

He then searched ‘China’ and not a single result popped out! He decided it was time for China and its people to get on the Internet.

Finally, after persuading 17 of his other friends to invest and join him in his new e-commerce startup – Alibaba, the company began from his apartment.

Initially, Alibaba didn’t have a single penny in investment from a venture capitalist, but they later raised $20 Million from SoftBank and another $5 Million from Goldman Sachs in 1999.

Building trust among the people of China that an online system of payment and package transfers are safe was the biggest challenge Jack Ma and Alibaba faced, a challenge that Jack will cherish for his lifetime.

Ma is a charismatic, flamboyant, and energetic leader, and his influence in business and leadership has been recognized by various organizations.

Ma was named:

  • one of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine in 2009,
  • businessperson of the year in 2007 by Business Week,
  • Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy in 2010 by Forbes Asia,
  • one of 30 world’s best CEOs by Barron’s in 2008
  • and in 2001, he made the list of young global leaders by the World Economic Forum.

For the rest of my life, I want to encourage entrepreneurship, to help more SMEs and I want to go back to school because I was trained to be a school teacher.

I have been doing business for fifteen years, and I think most of the things that I learned from business school are not correct – I want to go back and share with others.”

Lessons to learn from Jack Ma’s story

1) It’s possible!

It’s possible to start from scratch and become a millionaire. Jack Ma’s resources in his early years weren’t much better than yours if they were any better.

Ma had nothing to push him forward but his strong desire to succeed made him the man he is today.

2) It’s never too early nor too late

Jack ma achieved success in his late thirties (quite a young age) and he got many of his awards at his early forties.

3) When the dream is big enough facts don’t count

Ma was living a tough life, he didn’t have the luxury of having a car or a bank account, but he proved to the world that resources won’t matter if the dream was big enough.

The man was just passionate about creating a successful business and this is why he followed his dream and realized it. Never give up.

Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine….

So what are the excuses you repeat to yourself every day?

I don’t have enough money?
I don’t have a good education?
People around me don’t encourage me?

Its high time you woke up and get something started. Let jack ma be your inspiration.