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CEO Today Top 50 – Jack Ma

Jack Ma - CEO Today Top 50
Photo - Jolanda Flubacher

CEO Profile

Name: Jack Ma

Net worth: $41.5 billion

Company: Alibaba

Bio: In his early years, Jack Ma underwent a long period of misfortune—he applied for 30 different jobs, receiving rejections from them all, including a job with police and even KFC, where “Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three people were accepted.” On top of this, he applied to Harvard 10 times and got rejected each time.

Ma started his first company in April 1995 after he, his wife, and a friend raised $20,000. Called ‘China Yellow Pages’, the company was dedicated to creating websites for other companies and within three years, it had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan, which was equivalent to $800,000.

Alibaba, a business-to-business marketplace site based in China, was founded in 1999 in his apartment with a group of 18 friends. It quickly became one of the most valuable tech companies in the world after raising $25 billion, the largest initial public offering in US financial history. To this day, Ma serves as Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, a holding company with nine major subsidiaries:, Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, eTao, Alibaba Cloud Computing, Juhuasuan,, and Alipay.

In 2017, KMG ranked Ma third in a global tech innovation visionary survey and in October that year, Ma was given an honorary Doctor of Science in Technopreneurship degree from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines.

“If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

CEO Fact: Ma is putting a plan into place for him and other entrepreneurs to invest in rural boarding schools with the intention of finding a solution for China’s “left-behind children”—a phenomenon in China wherein a growing number of youth are left in rural communities while their parents relocate to urban areas to find work.

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