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Story: How A Teacher Earning Rs 800 A Month Built A US$ 200 Billion Company

Our world is full of rags-to-riches stories. People often accomplish great heights in a struggle to improve their way of living. But the stories of someone rising from poverty, failure, and negativity; to build one of the world’s largest companies are as scarce as hen’s teeth. The story of Jack Ma of Alibaba group is not just inspiring, but exemplary for budding entrepreneurs across the globe.

Jack was born in the year 1964 to a music-storyteller parent in Hangzhou, China – a nation already struggling socially. His parent did not earn enough to support a privileged lifestyle, poverty affected Ma’s childhood and academics. He failed twice in his primary educational years, and thrice in secondary.

After completing his high school education, Ma appeared for the entrance exam for higher education and failed in his first attempt. However, after a lot of grapple, Ma somehow completed his higher education and got a degree in English in the year 1988 – Ma also got marries the same year. After graduation, Ma started looking for a job. His ill-fate continued and he got rejected everywhere he applied for a job. Finally, Ma got a job with a local university at a paltry salary of Rs 800 per month.

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. — Ma told Bloomberg in an interview.

Ma’s skills with the English language secured him an opportunity to visit the U.S. in the year 1995. It was his U.S. visit where he got to know about the internet. Ma quickly realized the potential the internet offered and decided to start his internet venture. By now, he and his wife had saved some money. They invested an amount of 20000 US$ to start a website that offered various companies to showcase their products to the world. Ma’s website soon became a hit. In a span of just three years, he secured a profit of 800,000 US$. Fueled by the initial success, he decided to venture into other business areas – giving birth to the Alibaba Group.

As of 2018, Alibaba group was dealing with 100 million buyers every day and created 40 million direct-indirect jobs. They were operating in as many as nine business verticals that included Alipay and Alibaba Cloud Computing. Jack Ma, who was once the richest person in China and Asia, stepped down from the position of the Executive Chairmanship of Alibaba Group. He has received countless awards and recognitions from various sects of the society, he is also known for his philanthropic work. 

2020 Update

Jack Ma’s worth is valued at a whopping US$ 41.3 Billion(Wikipedia, May 2020). He has invested in several startups across the globe. Jack Ma’s holding company ANT(Formerly Alipay) is planning the biggest IPO ever, which may raise an amount of US$ 30 Billion for ANT.

Jack Ma’s story is of a person who always believed that giving up is the biggest failure in life. He is the living proof that no series of failures can inhibit you from fulfilling your dreams.

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