ALIBABA founder Jack Ma went from a teacher earning $12 a month to one of the world's richest men – now worth a staggering $25billion.

In one of China's most extraordinary rags-to-riches tales, Jack, 59, was rejected from dozens of jobs – including one at KFC – before landing on his feet and finding success with his third internet company.

Once China's richest person, he ranks at number seven on China's 100 Richest 2023, published by Forbes on Wednesday.

With no computing or engineering background, Jack is an unlikely tech giant.

Growing up poor in Communist China, he had no status, no money and no connections.

But in 1972, Richard Nixon visited China – and turned his home city of Hangzhou into a mecca for tourists.

Read more on China


Three dead after gym collapses as children played basketball inside in China


Ancient grenades inscribed with eerie warning messages unearthed in China

It gave young Jack his first glimpse of the world beyond China.

As a teen, he made the decision to cycle 17 miles every day to work as a tour guide for free for foreigners flocking to Hangzhou in exchange for English lessons,

He was given the name "Jack" by an American tourist who could not pronounce his name.

Unlike most Chinese entrepreneurs, Jack was not educated in the US and education in China was the most promising path for him.

Most read in The Sun


Chloe Madeley ‘furious’ over James Haskell’s cosy dinner with DJ before split


Mum-to-be killed along with her baby in car crash on her way to give birth


Eamonn Holmes, 63, reveals his baby joy as he becomes a grandad again


Gordon Ramsay becomes a dad for 6th time as wife Tana, 49, gives birth

But he failed his college entrance exam twice – and was rejected for dozens of jobs.

He once told an interviewer: "I went for a job with the KFC, they said, 'you're no good'.

Finally passing on his third attempt, he got a place at the Hangzhou Teacher's Institute before working as an English teacher at a local university, earning just $12 a month.

In the meantime, Jack had developed a keen interest in the new age of the internet after using it for the first time in America in 1995 while working as a translator.

"I never touched a keyboard before. I never used a computer before," he told 60 Minutes.

Jack had no idea how to use a computer – but his American friends told him to type anything into the search engine.

When he was baffled to find there were no Chinese results for the word "beer", he decided to create an internet company for China.

"I came to Hangzhou with $1 in my pocket, scared, worried," he said.

"I came back and I said, 'I want to do something called internet'."

Although his first two ventures failed, he eventually came up with a vision for an online marketplace he called "Alibaba" – allowing sellers to post product listings that customers could buy directly from.

Jack had convinced 17 of his pals and former students to invest in the idea – despite never using the internet.

With just over $50,000 in seed money, his company was born.

By October 1999, the company had raised $5million from Goldman Sachs and $20million from SoftBank.

And in 2005, Yahoo invested $ billion in Alibaba in exchange for about a 40 per cent stake in the company.

Alibaba went public on September 19, 2013 – and the company's $150-billion IPO was the largest offering for a US-listed company in the history of the New York Stock Exchange.

It also made Jack the richest man in China, with an estimated worth of $25billion at the time.

Today, Alibaba is worth around $220billion.

An influential figure in China's business community, he announced that he would retire from Alibaba in September 2018 and pursue educational work and philanthropy.

Despite his success, Jack claims he has been rejected from Harvard Business School ten times.

And he hit the headlines in late 2020 when he vanished from the public eye amid a crackdown on his businesses by Chinese authorities.

He has kept a low profile over the last three years after criticising China's regulators and banks.

Jack told a financial conference that traditional banks had a "pawn-shop mentality".

Just a month later, Ant's planned £26bn stock market flotation was sensationally cancelled at the last minute by Chinese authorities.

They cited "major issues" over regulating the firm – but it was seen as a retaliation for his criticism of the Chinese financial industry and the regime.

When Jack mysteriously disappeared from the public eye, rumours exploded that he had been placed under house arrest or otherwise detained.

In November last year, reports suggested he had been living a low profile life in Tokyo, Japan, for nearly six months – and he was only occasionally travelling abroad.

Read More on The Sun


Gordon Ramsay becomes a dad for 6th time as wife Tana, 49, gives birth


Mum-to-be killed along with her baby in car crash on her way to give birth

But in March, he made a rare public appearance at a school in his home city of Hangzhou – where Alibaba's HQ is located.

Once the richest man in China, Jack gave up control of financial technology giant Ant Group earlier this year.

Source: Read Full Article