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Jack Ma is already China's wealthiest man...and now he is ready to take on the world.
Alibaba's Jack Ma is China's wealthiest
Alibaba, named for the Arabian Nights character who uttered "Open sesame" to get into treasure cave did just that. The IPO of Alibaba raised an unprecedented $25 billion, becoming the biggest IPO in history. With that, Ma, who'd once scraped together $20 a month teaching English, joined Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg among the world's 25 richest individuals.
Unlike the usual Gates, Jobs or Zuckerberg, Jack Ma portrays himself as computer illiterate. "I've never written one code, never made one sale to a customer."
It's important to take note that before the New York IPO, the Hong Kong bourse had declined to list Alibaba Group under a structure that gave Ma and his managers control even though he wound up owning less than 8% of the stock after the offering....but that didn't stop the company's good start on the NYSE. Alibaba's $231 billion market cap suddenly made the company that was founded with $60,000 to be more valuable than Facebook and larger than Amazon.com Inc and EBay Inc. combined. Among the tech stocks, only the big three, Apple, Microsoft and Google had larger market values.
Ma's ambition is obviously beyond China. "In the past, we measure ourselves by how much we changed China. In the future, we will be judged by how much progress we bring to the world."
Alibaba Group connect its business in a variety of ways...Alibaba's Taobao marketplace serves small businesses and individuals. Tmall.com provides electronic shop fronts for Nike, Microsoft and other companies to sell to the Chinese customers. Alibaba.com mainly links the Chinese suppliers to foreign buyers.
While Jack Ma isn't the only billionaire (Robin Li, with search engine Baidu Inc, Ma Huateng, with Tencent Holdings Ltd, the China's top instant messaging service) who made money by tapping into China's web-savvy consumers, he differs because he's determined to look beyond China.
He has created sites in English, Portuguese and Russian. In Brazil and Russia, Alibaba is the leading e-commerce portal. Alibaba is already trading American seafood and cherries in California and Washington and Ma is optimistic of US expansion.
Jack Ma told Bloomberg Television before the IPO: "We're coming here to help a lot of small businesses"
While it may not be easy to take on the world, it's obvious that Jack Ma's ambition goes beyond China.