Self-made internet tycoon currently richest man in China

Alibaba, a Chinese company that owns the largest Chinese online mall, Taobao, and backs many successful websites such as the Asian version of Twitter, broke records when it went public on the New York Stock Exchange in early Sept.

Consequently, the $168 billion e-commerce giant’s founder and chairman, Jack Ma, is now the richest man in China with a net worth of $25 billion.

“Fewer people in China actually have time to go outside to shop these days. E-shopping is extremely popular. Alibaba is like a combination of Ebay and Amazon. You can make reservations on it as well,” Alibaba user Yan Xu said.

While Alibaba is not widely known in the U.S, it has surpassed both Amazon and eBay due to the nearly $490 billion spent on online retail in China, as opposed to the $290 billion spent in America.

According to “The Wall Street Journal,” “In 1999, Ma raised $60,000 from 18 friends and, from his own apartment, started what is now Alibaba.”

Ma often speaks of perseverance in interviews and speeches. He failed the Chinese college entrance exam twice before attending a local teacher’s college and acting as secretary to a Kentucky Fried Chicken manager before starting his first website.

“Wow,” freshman Stephanie Hong said, “He kind of sounds like every other Internet billionaire.”

However, Ma has a reputation for his quirky habits. On Alibaba’s company holiday, AliDay, Ma personally marries employees who cannot afford weddings. For the company’s tenth anniversary, he put on a Mohican wig and sang English.

“The opportunities that not everyone can see are the real opportunities,” Ma said, “Why not take a risk?”