Jack Ma

CEO at Alibaba

Person

Jack Ma is a Chinese business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate.

Leader

A prominent business figure, Ma is seen as a global ambassador for Chinese business and as such is frequently listed as one of the world’s most powerful people by Forbes. In addition, he also serves as a role model for startup businesses. In 2017, he was ranked 2nd in the annual “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” list by Fortune. On 10 September 2018, he announced that he will retire from Alibaba and pursue educational charity work, effective in one year with Daniel Zhang succeeding him as executive chairman.

From rags to riches, via the classroom

Ma was born into a poor family in the city of Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. After finishing school, he twice failed his college entrance exams before eventually qualifying to become an English teacher.

However, he gave up his job following an early chance encounter with the internet. “The first time I used the internet, I touched on the keyboard and I find ‘well, this is something I believe, it is something that is going to change the world and change China,'” Ma once told US broadcaster CNN.

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