“E-Bay may be a shark in the ocean, but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze River” – Jack Ma
The company that began in 1999 as B2B market, has since expanded and started to provide a whole package of services and currently is preparing to make broad moves across the board.
The company in question is Alibaba, owned by billionaire Jack Ma.
The first thing you’ll hear about Jack Ma is that he is eccentric. Examples such as his performances of the events of his company where he brings a huge white wig and sunglasses while singing the melody of the Lion King. But it can also be a picture of a cautious businessman who is a true pioneer in the Internet business in the most populous country in the world.
Jack Ma was born in 1964 in Hangzhou, a city that today has a greater population than London. Like many other famous names of the Silicon Valley, Ma also doesn’t have a very successful academic career. He failed the entry exam twice. However, he showed enthusiasm for the English language and his time as a teenager passed giving free tours for tourists in exchange for a chance to practice the language.
Ma graduated in 1988 and earned $12 a month as an English teacher at the university. In 1994 this resulted in a visit to the US and his first experience of the Internet. Which at that time was forbidden to be mentioned by Chinese state media.
The first word that he asked on the Internet was “beer”, which gave results for the United States and several other countries. But not China.
When he returned to his country, his first attempt was in 1995 as China Pages. China Pages was essentially an online version of the Yellow Pages. Despite his powerful rhetoric, that he can do it better than the Americans, the business failed and he began working for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. But in 1999, the internet revolution caught pace and he began with Alibaba.