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Jack Ma and the untold story of Alibaba

 Jack Ma was born in HangzhouZhejiang ProvinceChina.

Ma started to study English at a young age and practiced English daily by conversing with English-speakers at Hangzhou international hotel, a 70 min bike ride from his home.

He would give them tours around the city for free to improve his English. He did this for nine years.

He became pen pals with one of those foreigners, who nicknamed him “Jack” because he found it hard to pronounce his Chinese name.

Later in his youth, Ma struggled attending college.

The Chinese entrance exams are held only once a year and it took Ma four years to pass.

After that, Ma attended Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (currently known as Hangzhou Normal University) and graduated in 1988 with a B.A. in English. While at school, Ma was head of the student council.

After graduation, he became a lecturer of English and International Trade at Hangzhou Dianzi University.

He later enrolled at Beijing-based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and graduated in 2006.


Jack Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all.

“I went for a job with the police; they said, ‘you’re no good,'” Ma told interviewer Charlie Rose.

“I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job.

Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy…” In addition he applied 10 times for Harvard and got rejected.


In 1994, Ma heard about the Internet.

In early 1995, he went to the US and with his friends’ help he got introduced to the Internet.

During his first encounter he searched the word “beer”.

Although he found information related to beer from many countries, he was surprised to find none from China.

Further, he tried to search for general information about China and again was surprised to find none. So he and his friend created an “ugly” website related to China.

He launched the website at 9:40 AM and by 12:30 PM he had received emails from some Chinese wishing to know about him.

This is when Ma realized that the Internet had something great to offer. In April 1995, Ma, his wife and a friend went around, asked for USD 20,000, and started their first company.

Their company was dedicated to creating websites for companies. He named their company “China Yellow Pages.”

Within three years, his company had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan which was equivalent to USD 800,000.

Ma began building websites for Chinese companies with the help of friends in the US.

He has said that “the day we got connected to the Web, I invited friends and TV people over to my house,” and on a very slow dial-up connection, “we waited three and a half hours and got half a page…. We drank, watched TV and played cards, waiting.

But I was so proud. I proved (to my house guests that) the Internet existed.” (At a conference in 2010,

Ma revealed that he has never actually written a line of code nor made one sale to a customer.

He acquired a computer for the first time at the age of 33.


From 1998 to 1999, Ma headed an information technology company established by the China International Electronic Commerce Center, a department of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.

In 1999, he quit and returned to Hangzhou with his team to found Alibaba, a China-based business-to-business marketplace site in his apartment with a group of 18 friends. He started a new round of venture development with 500,000 yuan.

In October 1999 and January 2000, Alibaba twice won a total of a $25 million foreign venture capital investment.

Alibaba Group, which is a holding company with nine major subsidiaries:, Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, eTao, Alibaba Cloud Computing, Juhuasuan,, and Alipay.


This was the true life story of a man who had no opportunity to be enrolled in a proper school to learn English language,but he found his own way to learn it.

A man who applied for job at 30 different places and got rejected by all.

A man who applied 10 times at Harvard university and got rejected 10 times equally.

He even applied to work at KFC and was also rejected.

Even with those rejection ,his spirit was not let down rather he sought for a way to discover himself and finally discovered himself and today owns one the most powerful e-commerce outlets.


And here you are trying to strangle yourself over the present condition ,why don’t you maximize that strength and discover yourself just like Jack Ma did.

The time is now.

Theresa Mbanefo

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