Here’s a look at the life of Jack Ma, co-founder of China’s most successful tech empire and billionaire entrepreneur.
Birth date: September 10, 1964
Birth place: Hangzhou, China
Birth name: Ma Yun
Father: Ma Laifa
Mother: Cui Wencai
Marriage: Zhang Ying (Cathy Zhang)
Children: Two (some sources say three)
Education: Hangzhou Teachers College, 1988; Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, M.B.A.
Education and Life
Ma showed foreign tourists around his hometown as a child to improve his English.
He was admitted to Hangzhou Teachers College on the third try, after failing the entrance exam twice.
Owns a vineyard in France.
Supports the Chinese work practice known as “996.” The number refers to working from 9am to 9pm six days a week.
Is a member of the Communist Party.
Alibaba, Career and Retirement
1994 - Ma founds his first company, the Haibo Translation Agency.
1995 - Ma founds China Pages, an internet directory for Chinese companies.
1999 - Co-Founds e-commerce company Alibaba Group with 18 others, working out of an apartment in Hangzhou.
2003 - Founds Taobao, an online retail website.
2004 - Founds Alipay, an internet payment platform.
2010 - Co-founds venture-capital firm Yunfeng.
2011 - An internal investigation into fraud claims takes place at Alibaba. The investigation finds roughly 100 Alibaba salespeople allowed fraudulent entities to be designated as “gold suppliers,” a title reserved for independently verified legitimate sellers. In response to the allegation, David Wei, the chief executive officer, and Elvis Lee, the chief operating officer, resign.
October 2014 - Establishes Ant Group, a financial technology company.
December 15, 2014 - Founds the Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic organization.
2017 - Co-founds a private school, the Yungu School, in Hangzhou.
January 9, 2017 - Ma meets with US President Donald Trump to discuss plans for creating “one million” jobs in the United States through Alibaba Group’s e-commerce platform.
November 11, 2017 - Makes his film screen debut in “Gong Shou Dao,” a kung fu movie.
September 2019 - Announces he will step down as executive chairman of Alibaba. He is succeeded by CEO Yong Zhang, also known as Daniel Zhang.
October 24, 2020 - Ma makes a controversial speech in China, calling for reform of the country’s financial regulatory system.
November 3, 2020 - A planned IPO of Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, is blocked at the last minute by Chinese regulators.
December 24, 2020 - China launches an antitrust investigation into Alibaba. The State Administration for Market Regulation, China’s top market regulator, announces that it will probe alleged monopolistic behavior by Alibaba.
January 20, 2021 - Ma makes his first public appearance in roughly three months while speaking at the online ceremony of the Rural Teacher Initiative event. Ma hadn’t made a public appearance or social media post since late October, just over a week before a much anticipated stock market listing of Alibaba’s (BABA) financial affiliate, Ant Group, is suspended.
May 24, 2021 - Citing anonymous sources, the Financial Times reports that Ma will no longer serve as the president of Hupan, the elite business school he created in 2015. The newspaper also reports that Hupan would restructure its education program. The Hangzhou-based school had already dropped the word “university” from its name, following a government clampdown on institutions that are not licensed as universities but were claiming the status.
December 31, 2022 - Ma surfaces in a live video speech in an annual address to rural teachers, according to the South China Morning Post. It is a rare public appearance following reports that Ma had been living in Tokyo after China’s crackdown on the tech sector.