Jack Ma Biography

(Co-founder and Former Executive Chairman of 'Alibaba Group')

Birthday: September 10, 1964 (Virgo)

Born In: Hangzhou, China

Jack Ma is a Chinese businessman, investor, and philanthropist. Once a poor lad who survived by guiding tourists, Jack went on to rise above his humble condition and achieve success. He started off by improving his communication skills and also learned English. Jack was one of the first few individuals who saw the Internet as a business opportunity even at a time when the rest of the world didn’t believe in his vision. After starting his first venture with a mere $20,000, the entrepreneur went on to earn around $800,000 in just three years. In the late-1990s, he founded the e-commerce based venture ‘Alibaba’ which catapulted him to global fame. The revenue generated by the firm helped him reach the zenith of success and made him the richest man in China. He even co-founded other similar ventures which were also successful to a great extent; one of these was an e-commerce website called ‘Taobao.’ Jack is the recipient of many awards. He has also been featured in world-renowned magazines, such as ‘Forbes’ and ‘Time.’

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Jack Ma Yun

Age: 59 Years, 59 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Zhang Ying

father: Ma Laifa

mother: Cui Wencai

children: Ma Yuankun

Born Country: China

Quotes By Jack Ma Billionaires

Height: 5'5" (165 cm), 5'5" Males

Notable Alumni: Hangzhou Normal University

Founder/Co-Founder: Alibaba.com, Alibaba Group

More Facts

education: Hangzhou Normal University

  • 1

    What is Jack Ma's educational background?

    Jack Ma studied English at Hangzhou Normal University and worked as an English teacher before starting Alibaba.
  • 2

    How did Jack Ma come up with the idea for Alibaba?

    Jack Ma came up with the idea for Alibaba after struggling to find Chinese businesses online. He wanted to create a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with global buyers.
  • 3

    What is Jack Ma's role in Alibaba now?

    Jack Ma stepped down as Alibaba's chairman in 2019, but remains a significant shareholder and a member of the Alibaba Partnership.

  • 4

    What is Jack Ma's vision for the future of Alibaba?

    Jack Ma envisions Alibaba becoming a global platform that empowers small businesses and individuals to participate in global trade and e-commerce.
  • 5

    What other businesses has Jack Ma been involved in?

    Jack Ma has been involved in various businesses outside of Alibaba, including Ant Group, Alibaba Pictures, and the Jack Ma Foundation.
Childhood & Early Life

Jack was born Ma Yun on 10 September 1964, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. His parents were involved in a profession of storytelling through music.

Since a very young age, Jack was keen on gathering knowledge about English and tried his best to communicate better in the language. His desire to speak English encouraged him to visit a hotel frequented by English-speaking foreigners.

The youngster even started guiding tourists in an attempt to spend more time with native English speakers so that he could learn the language by conversing with them. He became pen pals with one such foreigner who nicknamed him 'Jack' as he could not pronounce his Chinese name.

Jack also aspired to enroll in a university and attended exams in order to gain admission. Though he was initially unsuccessful, he cleared the exams after four attempts. He then joined the ‘Hangzhou Teacher’s Training Institute’ to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in English. Jack graduated from the institution in the year 1988.

Continue Reading Below

In the mid-1990s, Jack got to know about the Internet and began seeing this new technology as a great business opportunity.

He even visited the United States in 1995 to learn more about the Internet. One of his friends showed him how to connect to a website. The same year, he even raised a fund of $20,000 to start his own firm with an intention of focusing solely on the Internet.

The purpose of the company was to create websites for their clients. Although this kind of business was relatively new, Jack managed to earn a whopping $800,000 in just three years.

Jack’s success in this particular field led to his appointment as the head of a firm governed by ‘China International Electronic Commerce Center’ in 1998. He continued working in this IT-based firm for a year.

After stepping down from his responsibilities in 1999, Jack founded a company called ‘Alibaba’ along with his friends. The intention was to create a website that could serve as a one stop shop for business to business transactions.

During 1999-2000, the company received a financial backing of $25 million, which significantly helped in the growth of the company. Soon, the company’s business expanded to around 240 different nations and regions.

Jack then tried venturing into e-business; he could foresee e-business as a great money making scheme of the 21st century. He then founded many firms, such as ‘Taobao,’ ‘Lynx,’ and ‘Ali Mama.’

‘Taobao’ started trending on the Internet as a top e-commerce website and even caught the attention of the popular e-commerce company ‘e-bay,’ which was keen on acquiring the firm. However, Jack was disinterested in signing a deal with the firm.

‘Taobao’ also caught the attention of another famous company, ‘Yahoo.’ The American web services company invested $1 billion in Jack’s venture.

Continue Reading Below

Jack had become a subject of criticism in 2007, after many people from across the world protested against the firm ‘Alibaba.’ They claimed that the firm raised huge profits through sales of animal products, sold through its portal. Considering the request of nature lovers across the world, Jack decided not to sell products made of Shark flesh through his online portal.

His company raised a whopping $25 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the US financial history. Subsequently, Jack became the executive chairman of ‘Alibaba Group.’

He is also the owner of ‘Château de Sours,’ ‘Chateau Guerry,’ and ‘Château Perenne.’ In 2017, he promised to create one million jobs in the US for the then president-elect Donald Trump.

Later in the year, Jack celebrated the completion of 18 years of his ‘Alibaba Group.’ He performed on stage for the song ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight,’ dressed like a heavy metal lead singer. He also delivered a performance inspired by Michael Jackson.

 In the meantime, Jack entered showbiz and debuted as an actor in the 2017 Chinese Kung fu short film ‘Gong Shou Dao.’

He stepped down as the executive chairman of the ‘Alibaba Group Holding’ in 2019 to concentrate more on his philanthropic works through his foundation. He also refuted the rumors which claimed that he was forced to do so by the Chinese government. He was succeeded by Daniel Zhang who previously served as the CEO of ‘Taobao.’

Major Works

Jack Ma is primarily known as the founder of the e-commerce giant ‘Alibaba,’ which is one of the top e-commerce websites in the world. The firm, which is considered a rival of other famous websites, such as ‘eBay’, has helped Jack Ma become the richest man in China.

Awards and Achievements

‘China Central Television’ had mentioned Jack in its ‘Top 10 Economic Personalities of the Year’ list, compiled for the year 2004.

Continue Reading Below

In 2005, he was featured in the list of ‘25 Most Powerful Businesspeople in Asia.’ He was also named ‘Businessperson of the Year’ by ‘Business Week’ magazine in 2007.

2009 was an eventful year in Jack’s life; he secured a spot in ‘Time’ magazine’s list of ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People.’ He also received the 2009 ‘CCTV Economic Person of the Year: Business Leader of the Decade Award.’

The world-renowned ‘Forbes’ magazine named him the 30th most powerful person in the world in 2014.

At the ‘Asian Awards’ ceremony held in 2015, he was felicitated with the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award.

He was ranked second in ‘Fortune’ magazine’s ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ list in 2017. In May 2019, he was appointed as a new advocate alongside 16 other influential global leaders by UN Secretary General Guterres to promote sustainable development growth.

He has received honorary doctorate degrees from various universities including the ‘University of Hong Kong,’ ‘De La Salle University’ in Philippines, and ‘Tel Aviv University’ in Israel.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jack Ma tied the knot with a woman named Zhang Ying, whom he had first met while studying at the ‘Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute.’ Zhang played an important role in initiating Jack’s first business venture.

The couple is blessed with three children.

Facts About Jack Ma
Jack Ma is a former English teacher who was rejected from multiple jobs, including KFC, before founding Alibaba, one of the world's largest e-commerce platforms.
He is known for his love of martial arts and has performed on stage as a martial arts actor in the past.
Jack Ma is an avid collector of traditional Chinese art and has a passion for preserving Chinese cultural heritage.
Despite his immense success, he is known for his humble beginnings and often shares stories of his failures to inspire others.
Jack Ma is a strong advocate for environmental sustainability and has launched initiatives to promote green technology and reduce carbon emissions.

Follow Jack Ma On:

Recommended Lists:

See the events in life of Jack Ma in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Jack Ma Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com

People Also Viewed

Ma Huateng Biography
Ma Huateng
Ren Zhengfei Biography
Ren Zhengfei
An Wang Biography
An Wang
(American, Chinese)
Walter O'Brien Biography
Walter O'Brien
Steve Odland Biography
Steve Odland
Yusaku Maezawa Biography
Yusaku Maezawa
Lloyd Blankfein Biography
Lloyd Blankfein