We come across many people in our daily lives but only a few of them inspire us to become a better version of ourselves. Jack Ma, is among the most renowned personalities in the business world and is better known as the co-founder of the Alibaba Group. Here are the 9 things that you may not know about Jack Ma:
- His Real Name is Ma Yun
The real name of Jack Ma is Ma Yun. It was when he worked as a tourist guide for Hangzhou Hotel tourists, one of the tourists found it difficult to pronounce his name and started calling him ‘Jack’.Slowly, his name got modified to what we know today as Jack Ma.
- Two Unsuccessful Attempts for University Entrance
Jack Ma was interested in English from a young age. He sat for the Hangzhou University entrance exam and failed twice. It was his third attempt that landed him in the University and provided him the opportunity to complete a Bachelor’s degree in English. He also taught English in Hangzhou Diana University.
- Passion for English – The Common Language for Businesses
His passion for English did not end here. He entered the business world by opening Haibo Translation Agency that provided English translation services in China.
- Rejected for More Than 30 Jobs
Before starting the agency, he applied for more than 30 jobs. He also acclaimed that he did not make it to KFC job where 24 people applied and he was the only one who wasn’t selected.
- First Internet Business- China Pages
It was in 1995 when he went to America on behalf of the city’s government. An American businessman threatened him there from whom he had to recover his friend’s money. In America, he confronted the Internet for the first time and found the absence of Chinese websites. This gave a kick start to his entrepreneurial trait and he founded China Pages which served as a creator of websites for small businesses in China.
- Shut His First Business in Two Years
Within two years, he left the company due to tough competition from a telecommunication company. Later, he headed an Internet Company that was supported by the government. But Ma felt that more opportunities await in the corporate world.
- Foundation of Alibaba
He encouraged his team to back him on the journey of founding Alibaba Group. It served to create websites for business to business trade in return of membership fees which certified them as ethical sellers. He gathered 18 people in his apartment for funding. In no time the idea sold itself and he had $60,000 to start the business. Soon, the company appealed to American investors such as Yahoo and Goldman Sachs.
- Naming- ALIBABA
He took the name ‘Alibaba’ from the famous story of Alibaba and the forty thieves. He asked the people on San Francisco streets that if they knew this name or not. Jack Ma wanted to have a global presence so he chose this widely known name.
- Expansion with ‘Taobao’
Ma also built a consumer to consumer selling company – Taobao, which was on an edge with e-bay and Eachnet (Chinese company selling second-hand goods) due to high fees charged by them. Taobao did not charge fees for selling on the portal; instead, it made money through online advertisements.
The Alibaba Group has been valued at 168 billion dollars in the US market. Recently, Jack gave up the position of chairman in Alibaba but will continue as one of its board members. Ma stated in interviews that he was declared ‘no good’ for several jobs. If he would have believed those statements then he would not have made his fortune. His journey to become one of the most successful businessmen is inspiring.