7 Surprising Facts About China’s Most Admired Entrepreneur


Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, China’s leading business entity is an emerging name in the world of Internet business. This incredibly inspiring and successful entrepreneur gave a tough competition to two of the major e-commerce platforms in the world, Amazon and eBay. His company, Alibaba is now one of the largest internet based company in the world.

The company is quite well known among the masses. But, how much do we actually know about him? There is an incredibly inspiring story behind this ordinary looking man who barely graduated from university but went ahead to build an online platform that is now known as one of the largest e-commerce platforms not just in China but the world.

Entrepreneurs Ride brings to you 7 facts about this brilliant entrepreneur you may not have known earlier.

  1. Start of career.

Jack Ma was a self-learner. When he was a teenager, he taught himself English. He used to wake up early in the morning every day and travel on his bike to speak to foreign tourists. This practice not just helped him in learning English, but gave him some people skills. This made it possible for him to start his career as an English teacher.

2. Computer skills

It may come as a shock for most people, but it is a fact that the founder of Alibaba.com knows very less about technology. His computer skills are limited to switching on the computer, sending emails and browsing the internet.

3. Discovery of internet

Jack Ma came to know about internet in the year 1995. This was the time when he went to the US for some work. When he learned about the internet, the first word he made a search for was “beer”. He searched for beers from various countries of the world. He was surprised to find that the results did not list a Chinese product. This fact inspired him to start his first internet business. He started his business, China Yellow Pages with 7000 yuan and a loan from a family member.

4. Ideal

Jack Ma’s ideal person was Forrest Gump, an imaginary character from a book which was later made into a movie. His likeness for the character was mostly because the character Forrest Gump had a background not much different from his own.

5. Failed attempts

Jack Ma had an incredible record of failure. From the time when he was attempting to pass college until the time when he went looking for a job, Jack Ma had quite an experience at failing. However, he refused to get stuck by those failures and continued on his quest. These attempts were indeed an integral part of his journey from earning $12 a month to becoming a multibillionaire.

Watch him talk about his failures:

6. The kidnap

It was the year 1995. Jack Ma had never expected the threat when he travelled to the US for helping a Chinese firm to recover their money from an American businessman. Instead of returning the money, the man threatened Jack on gunpoint and locked him in his house for two days. However, Jack was lucky enough and managed to escape.

7. Alibaba

Jack was clear that he would take his company to a global level. So, deciding a company name that would be easy to spell was crucial. Alibaba is the name of the main character from the classic tale of Alibaba and the Forty Thieves. People everywhere know about the tale and associate the name with “Open, Sesame”

According to Jack, “Alibaba is a kind, smart business person, and he helped the village. So…easy to spell, and global know. Alibaba opens sesame for small- to medium-sized companies.” This is how he decided on the name for his company.


Treating failures as opportunities to push yourself ahead is what we learn from the extraordinary life of Jack Ma. Here is our favourite inspirational quote from this entrepreneurial inspiration.

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

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