Never Give Up

Jack Ma is currently one of the richest man in the world. He is the founder of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant which had this last few years an unprecedented success. Indeed, with a revenue growth from 30% to 40% in 2016, Alibaba announced that it had a sales revenue of 22.9 billion dollars, a 56% increase in comparison with the year before. Jack Ma, was only a « mere » English teacher. What is his secret?

Alibaba’s success

The idea of creating this company comes from a trip in the United States in 1995, when he used a computer for the first time. Underdeveloped in China, Internet has a potential Jack Ma will notice. In 1999, Jack Ma decided then to go back to Hangzhou, his hometown, to found Alibaba.

Now, Alibaba is not only a webpage but a group of different companies, all run by Jack Ma, such as AliExpress, Taobao or Aliplay, that have now more than 800 million users.

Jack Ma – 马云

When failures lead to success

The early days of Jack were though difficult. Indeed, after failing three times at the competition for university entrance, and after facing approximately thirty refusals for interviews, of which one that was at KFC where he was the only one dismissed out of 24 applicants, he was recruited as an English teacher, with a modest salary of 12 dollars a month. Later, when he started working on his Alibaba project, it was with the support of his family and relatives who helped him funding his company. He was even given the nickname  « crazy Jack » for his ambition that few people understood. He tried without success to develop his company in Beijing and Shanghai and it is in Hangzhou that he finally found the means to complete his projects. In front if his failures, he only had one watchword: KEEP GOING.

Why does internationalization was an asset for Jack Ma?

What allowed Jack Ma to go where he is, is his English skills. Indeed, from an early age, he liked roaming near West Lake in Hangzhou to talk with the many tourists who were there. He learned English that way and these talks changed his perspective about the world. Then, thanks to his trip to the United States, he discovered Internet and had the idea to develop it in China, a country where the use of internet was low at that time. Finally, Jack Ma also understood the benefits of globalization, expanding his business in other countries like France, Russia, Italy, Israel, and many countries in Latin America.


What appeared at first sight as impossible ended up being a great success. The failures and refusals Jack Ma faced didn’t dissuade him but, on the opposite, made him stronger. Thanks to his opening to the world and his determination, Jack Ma achieved his goals and even more. His conclusion: « Keep your dream alive ».


Jehenne Klaï

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