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Will you believe me if I say the person who was rejected several times for the simplest job, is now a successful entrepreneur and one of the richest people in the world today? We all know success and failure are a part of our life, it is up to us whether we get disappointed with those failures or move forward learning from them.

Today we are discussing one such start-up story of a failure who is now the richest person in China, Jack Ma, a businessman who owns the biggest e-commerce site, Alibaba. If you still can’t believe me, this article is for you-

Ma Yun professionally known as Jack Ma, is a Chinese business magnate, philosopher, philanthropist, internet and technology entrepreneur, and a founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a conglomerate of internet-based businesses.

Ma was born on 10th September 1964 in Zhejiang, China. Ma started studying English at a very young age to entertain tourism and learn English. One of the foreigners couldn’t spell Ma Yun and he named him ‘Jack’ and that’s how Ma turned out to be ‘Jack Ma’.

Ma later went to Hangzhou Normal University after failing two attempts at the Chinese entrance exam. He graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. After the degree, Ma worked as a lecturer of English at Hangzhou Dianzi University. He applied to Harvard Business School and got rejected 9 times.

Ma Yun has a list of his failure even for the simplest job he applied. He was rejected for the police job, at school and even he was rejected at KFC in his city. After several rejections, Jack founded his first internet-based company with his friend, Hangzhou Haibo Translation Agency.

Jack was first introduced to the internet and computers. The first word he searched was ‘Beer’ and results from different countries popped out but with no signs of China. By 1995, he understood that China was long behind the way in internet and technology when he searched about China on the internet. So he created an ‘ugly’ website where he would write about China and when investors reached him in no time, he realized the power of the internet. Jack and He Yibing opened their first start-up ‘China Yellow Pages’ and invested US $ 20,000 and they raised capital equivalent to US $800,000.

Till 1999, Jack Ma headed the IT company set up by China International Electronic Commerce Center. He quit the job in 1999 and returned to Hangzhou.

Finally by 1999, along with his 17 friends he invested in a new venture start-up Alibaba, in his apartment. Later in late 1999 and January 2000, they raised $25 million capital from other investors. Jack who didn’t code or sell anything now runs the biggest e-commerce company that has grown out of China and reached the world today.

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Alibaba’s vision was to improve the global e-commerce system and make a platform for Chinese enterprises. In 2003, Jack founded Taobao Marketplace and after rapid success, eBay offered to purchase the company even though Jack rejected the offer. Instead, he got supported and an investor of $1 billion from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.

Alibaba after raising $25 billion in the US market became one of the most valued technology companies. Jack today holds Alibaba along with other subsidiaries: Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, eTao,,, Alibaba Cloud Computing, Juhuasuan, and Alipay.

As of September 2014, Alibaba raised $25 billion in the New York Stock Exchange. With this amount, Alibaba became counted among the most eminent tech companies in the world. Ma announced on 10th September 2018, that he would step down as executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding by next year.

His love for entertainment moved further with his acting debut in a Kung Fu short film in 2017. He also participated in the singing festival and danced at a Michael Jackson-inspired performance during Alibaba’s 18th-anniversary party.

Jack received several awards-

    • In 2004- China Central Television was awarded as one of the ‘Top 10 Economic Personalities of the Year’
    • In 2005, Jack was selected as a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum.
    • In 2007, Businessweek also selected him as ‘Businessperson of the Year’
    • In 2008, Barron’s featured him as one of the 30 “World’s Best CEOs”
    • In 2010, Ma was selected by Forbes Asia as one of Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy for his contribution to disaster relief and poverty.

Other than this, there is a list of awards and honors Jack Ma received for his outstanding work in the Internet business market.

Alibaba and Jack Ma may not be a household name in China, but still, Alibaba is worth more than other E-commerce companies and processes more goods than eBay and Amazon combined.

Although, the story may find you struggling and a fairytale to you, the hard work and the success are what Ma requires to be where he is today.

Failure doesn’t define you, what you do after you fail determines whether you are a leader or a looser. Difficulties come every way but what you can try is stand stronger every time you fall and this is how Ma makes an inspiring story for you.

Keep dreaming, keep working hard for your dreams, and no worries if you fail but what matters are your efforts.

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