This is the incredible story of Jack M A, who was branded as a failure but chose not to give up. Jack M A (born M A Yun) studied at an ordinary institution in China and failed multiple times as a student, and yet he held on to self-belief and created the Alibaba group, the largest e-commerce company in the world. He was rejected for more than thirty jobs, including that of a waiter, but a few years down the line, he was providing employment to millions of people. He first experienced the Internet at age thirty, but such was his business acumen that he built a company that couldn’t exist without the Internet. He learned English by talking to tourists, but he is one of the most admired public speakers in the language. He says, ‘if Jack M A and his team can be successful, eighty per cent of the people can be successful.’ how did Jack M A achieve all of this in the face of constant adversity? Get an insight into the gruelling yet amazing work culture that he built at Alibaba. Jack ma’s story has that magical capability of invoking the best in people, to inspire them to persevere and keep moving ahead and to make them think beyond self-interest.
The Making of the Greatest: Jack Ma
About the Author
In Conversation with Abha Sharma
Come June, the cherry trees in Washington State’s sprawling farms are laden with delicious fruit in their ever-alluring deep colours. A certain cherry farmer, like many others around, ensures that the cherries are sorted and packaged to be shipped within 24 hours. One of these packages would be delivered to a family in Shanghai, China, via the e-commerce platform Taobao. On the other side of the globe, in the peaceful rural environs of Shandong province in China, a former software developer works as a rural Taobao entrepreneur, helping farmers sell fuji apples to various markets in the United States.
A fashion-jewellery wholesaler based in India, who had started with a small manufacturing unit, gets quotations and bulk orders from the US, Australia and Europe, and has grown his business seven times by setting up a virtual shop on Alibaba.com. A young woman in Novosibirsk, Russia, is expecting her package to be delivered through AliExpress, a global leader in e-commerce based in China,
that accounts for around 90 per cent of the e-commerce on foreign websites in Russia.
With over 600 million active users on its platforms every day, Alibaba is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It has been listed as one of the most admired companies as well as one of the ten most valuable companies in the world. It has helped turn around the lives of millions of people and has transformed the way the world conducts business, even in the remotest villages. All this began as an idea in the mind of one man, the visionary behind this behemoth, Ma Yun, more commonly known as Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. Ma has recognized the possibilities of e-commerce in a way unlike others and was even nicknamed ‘Crazy Jack’ for his uncommon ideas. The young boy, who was repeatedly labelled a failure and was told that he had no future, is now one of the richest men on the planet and is considered an icon of success.
There are many ways to introduce Jack Ma, but if one were present at the tenth anniversary celebrations of Alibaba in September 2009, one could get a fair idea of who this dynamic person is. Sixteen thousand people filled the Yellow Dragon Stadium in Hangzhou, East China, to celebrate a momentous occasion. The company had grown from scratch to become one of the biggest Internet companies in the world. That enthusiasm-filled night, the employees looked towards the stage, waiting for their company’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, to address the gathering. There was wild cheering as the ‘boss’ came onstage. He looked nothing like his everyday self, but the crowd loved the way he took the stage—he was dressed like a punk rock performer, complete with a long, blonde wig decorated with a mohawk-style headgear. A dazzling costume, coloured lips, dark glasses and nose jewellery completed the look.
The chairman, in this unusual avatar, began addressing the crowd, well, by singing the popular Lion King theme song: ‘Can you feel the love tonight…’
This style of doing unusual things is characteristic of Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group, and one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of more than thirty-six billion dollars. He is the founder of one
of the largest Internet businesses in the world, which is now worth over four hundred billion dollars. This man has built an international conglomerate that has given tough competition to the almost-invincible giants of the industry and has revolutionized the way business is done in his country. Yet, Ma was the least likely candidate for success as a child, as a student and even as a young man. Failures, rejections, discouragement and mistakes were his constant companions. He had no conventionally-accepted skills, but the rare qualities that he possessed helped him script a fairytale of success, one that will continue to inspire generations.