Jack Ma, Alibaba's Founder Laments the Burdens of Being a Billionaire

According to 2018 Real-Time net worth statistics by Forbes, Jack Ma has a net worth of 39.9 billion USD. Ma is the celebrated founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group. This e-commerce titan is known for being one of the richest men in mainland China. Jack Ma was quoted lamenting about the burdens of being a billionaire at a luncheon with the Economic Club of New York in 2015. Ma was eager to state that some of his happiest and best time of his life was when he was barely making any money after college.

Jack Ma, founder Alibaba Group Image: REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

At his hometown in Hangzhou, China, Ma taught English right after college in 1988. While teaching at a local university, he only made $12 each month. Ma, remembers this period in his life and calls it the best life he had. At the luncheon in New York, Ma went on to add that when you have limited money, you do not have to worry about how to spend the money. He stated that being a billionaire is a different ball game; it is a lot of responsibility. In a humble manner, this e-commerce mogul stated that having a lot of money demands trust from the larger society. Therefore, when he spends money, he has to spend on behalf of society.

Ma also lamented the load of being wealthy to a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative. He also referred to his days as a school teacher as being 'fantastic'. He added that when people have a million dollars, they are very lucky. However, when they hit the ten million dollar mark, their troubles magnify. The Alibaba founder clearly suggested that the pressure of being a billionaire comes with so many demands which often weigh him down.

Quick interesting facts about Alibaba

- Jack Ma was living in a one-bedroom apartment in his hometown where he started the site in 1998.

- Ma borrowed up to $60,000 from 18 young people to fund the Alibaba project at the onset in 1999.

- The founder became familiar with the Internet after visiting Seattle in 1995, his first ever search online was the keyword 'beer'.

- While sitting at a coffee shop in Malaysia, Ma thought of the word Alibaba. He consulted a waitress at the coffee shop about the word and she was quick to say 'Open Sesame'; this was the first reaction to the term. At this point, Ma was impressed to note that the name Alibaba is a gateway to opportunities for small businesses to sell their goods and services to a wider market.

- Ma returns to the one-bedroom apartment location where it all began whenever he needs inspiration.

- Alibaba Group is an umbrella to many companies and entities; the largest shopping site being Taobao.

- Jack Ma was challenged academically in primary and secondary school where he failed many times. This however did not deter him from seeking knowledge. He later acquired an MBA from Cheung Kong University while pursuing his business dreams.

- To say that Jack Ma is a gifted orator would be an understatement. His speeches are always full of humor and depth. When Ma visited Kenya, most people young and old were eager to hear from him. However, his appeal and prowess for great speeches was not always a guarantee for a massive audience. In the year 2000, Ma was scheduled to speak at a tech conference in Berlin, Germany. At a venue with a capacity of 500 seats, only three people showed up. Despite the anticlimax, Ma went ahead and gave his speech and was thankful for the applause from three people.

- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is now the largest retailer in the world after overtaking Wal-mart Stores Inc. The group has business interests in a myriad of sectors ranging from media to healthcare and entertainment. They have a presence in more than 200 countries across the globe. The Alibaba Group owns at-least ten companies including Alibaba.com, South China Morning Post, Taobao, Lazada, Alibaba Pictures Groups, Alipay, AutoNavi, Ali Health Information Technology; among others.

- At a public lecture at the University of Nairobi in July, 2017 Jack Ma stated that when starting his journey to success, he did not know much about business, computers or even marketing. However, he knew people and what people wanted. This was a major takeaway from his speech. He also emphasized on learning more from failures and not successes alone.

- Jack Ma met his wife Zhang Ying at school and they married after graduation. They were both teachers and they have two children, a daughter and a son.
Jack Ma, Alibaba's Founder Laments the Burdens of Being a Billionaire Jack Ma, Alibaba's Founder Laments the Burdens of Being a Billionaire Reviewed by Emma Wanjiku on May 02, 2018 Rating: 5

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