Jack Ma – a name synonymous with success in China. He’s none other than the man behind the billion dollar B2B site Alibaba.com. Alibaba is the 2nd biggest Internet IPO in the world, after Google! Alibaba is listed on HKEX (Hong Kong Exchange) since Nov. 2007 under the symbol 1688.HK. Alibaba serves more than 40 million members from 240 countries in the world. Now, I’ve got your attention, haven’t I? ;-)
Under Jack Ma’s stable of successes includes China’s largest online marketplace Taobao.com. I bought my MP5 from Taobao.com and if interested, do check it out. You can buy almost anything from that site! It’s a Chinese C2C portal so you will need to know how to read Chinese. It’s never too late though ;-) Other than that, Yahoo is also a major shareholder in Alibaba (40% economic stake) while Japan’s Softbank has a comparable 33% stake. Time magazine has honored Ma in its Top 100 list of the World’s Most Influential People in May 2009. Subsequently, Ma was also chosen as one of China’s most powerful people by BusinessWeek in the same year.
Jack Ma has been called the father of entrepreneurship in China. A most wiling teacher or mentor to all those who are willing to listen. Of my 2.5 years living in China, the most rewarding of things I learnt is the many opportunities this country offers for learning. Much can be sourced from its television programs or books sold. For want of a better word, not lacking in information at all. What matters though is that you look hard enough and know where or what to search for. At times, even if one has no idea what one is looking for, one comes across things that is most amazing and wonderful! If you think it’s a land of opportunity for making money, I think not. Instead, what I discover here is the wealth one is not accustomed to thinking about them as treasures or wealth!
As for Jack Ma, he’s one such find. He’s fast becoming my mentor in entrepreneurship. Jack Ma is eloquent (he was an English teacher for a few years before turning entrepreneur) and like many in Asia who has had no special connections or wealth in his family background he made it through trial and error, reflection and introspection. What’s most wonderful is that despite his success, he’s willing to impart his learning and experiences to all others who are willing to listen! That, I think is incredible & commendable. So many success stories, including Mr. Li Ka Shing, one of the richest billionaires in the world, is too busy with their success to come into direct contact with the public through the public media, much less to go on programs to help others go on the right path! In Shanghai, there is such a platform (through its TV Channel China CBN) for success to breed success. There are brainstorming sessions among some of the most prominent businessmen in Shanghai and also one-to-one direct interviews with leading companies’ CEOs. I love those programs and wish they have more of such enlightenment around the world. I know you’ve such programs in the U.S. but I find for most part, U.S. media is out to get or scrutinize a person in negative light rather than with a positive intention to begin with when producing a program. For some reasons, they have deviated from their original goals of producing the program. Programs that are popular are programs that ‘vandalize’ or attacks its guests and their reasons for doing such is because the audiences get a kick out of it?! That’s so darn unhealthy as far as I’m concerned and that’s not my concept of freedom of speech at all!
As with some people I’ve come across, be it on the internet or my personal friend, you could be right on a hundred things but instead of commenting on all that you do right, they pick a point that they think is not great to them & comment on that instead! That’s just so deflating! Perhaps its human nature, I don’t know. Perhaps even I do it unconsciously! But, what I do like in China is that it finds a balancing act in its media and it is necessary to do so for whatever political or societal reasons. I like a society that is amicable, just a community that’s livable. And, I don’t think that’s an encroachment on freedom; I think that’s responsible living.
Now, back to Jack Ma. He teaches us to live a conscious life, live with integrity and live responsibly. One’s success is not simply measured by the amount of money one has in the banks or one’s shareholdings in listed companies. In his talks and advises about being a success in the business world, one gets a glimpse of the real person behind that success and that’s what I love most about his series of “Winning in China (赢在中国)”, a program designed to offer candidates extra capital to finance their businesses. Jack Ma is on that panel of those judges who offer suggestions to those applicants who are competing for the funds (I believe it’s about RM$10 million, slightly more than US$1.3). The point is not whether he’s being paid for it. The point is that he makes suggestions which I’m sure many viewers have benefitted so much so that people like me may actually convert those programs onto FLV format and listen to them over and over again!
So, yes, thanks to Jack Ma I’m a better person. And I’m quite sure that one fine day, his advises would yield results & benefits which unrivaled anything I could have imagined now! And when someone does that for another that is the benchmark for a successful person! That’s MY benchmark, anyway. I believe a successful person is one who embodies concepts and beliefs bigger than himself & imparts them to others thereby creating a chain reaction that makes the world a much better place to live. He also proved that with perseverance, one can get ahead in life. There is no victim in this world; the only victim is one that’s in your own mind! A man not only with world class vision but also one in a class of his own!
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About the reviewer
I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Ma first started building websites for Chinese companies with the help of friends in the US. Ma has commented that "The day we got connected to the Web, I invited friends and TV people over to my house," and on a very slow dial-up connection, "we waited three and a half hours and got half a page.... We drank, watched TV and played cards, waiting. But I was so proud. I proved (to my house guests that) the Internet existed"