Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student.
Jack Ma is one of the most successful entrepreneurs from China and is currently ranked the 17th richest man in the world by Forbes. He is the founder of Alibaba, which is a Chinese technology company that deals in e-commerce, retail and the internet, payment platform, and marketing. His life story is an extremely motivational and influential one, which is based purely on tireless persistence.
Let’s start with the history of Jack Ma
Jack Ma, born and brought up in Zhejiang Province, China, was a child who was always interested in learning English and Western culture. In order to practice his English, he started speaking to visitors at the Hangzhou Hotel in English. As a child, he was always hungry for more knowledge but with his parents earning not even enough to keep ends meet, he was not able to do much in his childhood. In order to practice his English, he would also give free English tours to foreigners in a nearby park! It is from there that this inspirational story started but it is not without numerous failures that he became the richest man in China!
The rejections of Jack Ma
Jack Ma wasn’t exceedingly bright in his studies. He failed in his middle term and final term examinations in school, failed his entrance exams thrice, was rejected by Harvard University even after applying ten times, failed to get a job in more than 30 companies, including a KFC and couldn’t even strike a job in the police force. He finally got a job at a local university as an English teacher and earned $12 a month! (source: Business Insider). He also failed in two of his initial business ventures. Although he may have had many failures and rejections, Ma never lost sight of his dreams. These dreams only got bigger and bigger.
The rise of Jack Ma
Although all his life he had only dealt with failure and rejection, that didn’t stop Jack Ma from thinking larger. In-fact according to Business Insider, Jack’s idea of Alibaba came to his mind because of all the failures which he had dealt with in the past. Jack started making websites for other companies and founded one of China’s first internet companies called China Pages which made websites for other Chinese business companies. He then founded Alibaba which became a multi-billion-dollar e-commerce company and was listed on the Nasdaq (US stock exchange) in September 2014. In 2010, he founded a venture-capital firm called Yunfeng and also owns a substantial stake in Yahoo China (source: Business Insider). He also went on to become part of the Board of Directors in Softbank. According to Forbes, Jack Ma has a net worth of $43 billion making him China’s richest man.
The impact of Jack Ma retiring on Softbank group
SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Tokyo and is the biggest stakeholder in Alibaba owning 29.4% of the company. As he turned 55 years old, Jack Ma announced retirement from the position of Alibaba Chairman. As he retired as Alibaba chairman, he also announced his retirement from Softbank Board of Directors effective from June 25th, 2020. In March 2020, Softbank posted its worst loss ever. The company incurred a loss of $18 billion in its Vision Fund due to writing down the value of investments, including WeWork and Uber Technologies INC. (source: Bloomberg). Softbank has pledged to sell down $41 billion of assets to raise cash, with its stake in Alibaba – the portfolio’s most valuable asset – seen as a likely target (source: India Today). In fact, due to these losses, this might be the last Vision Fund that Softbank ever announced (source: economic times).
Jack Ma today
One of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs: Jack Ma has now retired from his long journey. He now wants to instead focus on environmental causes and educational work. Jack Ma has helped millions in China through the Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund which is a $1.5 billion fund to help fight poverty in China (source: South China Morning Post). To help poor countries fight COVID-19, he has personally provided 1.8 million masks, 210,000 test kits, 36,000 protective suits, and other equipment to countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Maldives, etc. (source: CNN). He also wants to help people all over the world in terms of education and wants to teach children “how to be human” (source: India Times).
The story of Jack Ma is perhaps one of the most inspiring stories for young business people who have been going through a hard time. Jack Ma’s Story is based only on persistence and determination and he continues to show these characteristics in whatever he does even today. He has also shown his determination in a quote: “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine”.
Thanks for reading!
Stay safe, stay healthy!
Written by Ahaan Anand, a grade 9 student of Modern School
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