Ma Yun (马云), also known as Jack Ma, the famous Chinese entrepreneur, is the founder of the Alibaba Group, one of Asia's largest online trading websites. He has become the richest person in Asia since December 12, 2014 and was nominated by the editors of Time magazine as one of eight finalists for the Person of the Year 2014.
He surpassed Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong property tycoon who has held the top spot in Asia since April 5, 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Ma has a $28.6 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg ranking. Li has a net worth of $28.3 billion.
The huge success of Alibaba's launch on the New York stock market on Sept. 19, 2014, catapulted Ma to the No. 1 spot on the list of the wealthiest people on China's mainland. According to the Hurun Chinese mainland rich list, the world's largest ever initial public offering inflated Ma's personal fortune to US$25 billion, a sixfold increase from 2013.
Born on Oct. 15, 1964, in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, Ma graduated from the Hangzhou Normal University in 1988, majoring in English with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
From 1988 to 1995, Ma taught English and international trade at the Hangzhou Institute of Electronic Engineering.
Between 1995 and 1997, Ma set up China Pages, widely regarded as China's first internet-based company.
From 1997 to 1999, Ma joined the China International E-Commerce Center under the then Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, to help develop its official website and online commodity trading market.
In 1999, Ma invested in establishing the Alibaba Group, an online enterprise-to-enterprise trading platform.
In May 2003, Alibaba invested in establishing the Taobao website, which has become the largest personal commodity trading website in China.
In November 2012, Taobao's online trading volume exceeded a trillion yuan (US$160.7 billion) and Ma was crowned with the title of "Trillionaire" in China.
On Jan. 15, 2013, Ma announced in an open letter to his employees that he will be relieved from the responsibility of his office as CEO of Alibaba on May 10, 2013.
On May 10, 2013, Ma Yun stepped down as Alibaba CEO and gave his place to Jonathan Lu Zhaoxi at a 10th anniversary celebration of Taobao.com held in Hangzhou.
On May 6, 2014, Ma announced in an internal communication to employees that Alibaba has filed initial public offering (IPO) document to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with plans to raise one billion U.S. dollars.
On Sept. 19, 2014, Alibaba Group Holding made its initial public offering (IPO) at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), with the initial price of 68 dollars a share. The price ended at 93. 89 U.S. dollars a piece, surging 38 percent on its first day of trading.
Ma has revitalized Chinese and global business contents with his creative philosophy and works in the field of e-commerce, insiders analyzed. In July 2000, Ma became the first entrepreneur on the Chinese mainland to be mentioned in the cover story of Forbes, the authoritative financial and economic U.S. magazine, in 50 years. He was chosen as one of the "Top 100 Young Global Leaders of the Year 2001" by the World Economic Forum, and as the "Business Leader of the Year 2001" by the U.S. Asia Chamber of Commerce.
In May 2005, Ma graced the cover of Nikkei, Japan's most powerful financial and economic magazine. In December 2004, Ma was presented with the Economic Feature Award of the Year by China Central Television (CCTV). In 2009, he ranked 77th on the Hurun Global Rich List with his personal net assets amounting to 8 billion yuan. In 2012, Ma ranked eighth on the 50 Most Influential Business Leaders of American magazine FortuneChina,.
Ma also serves as chairman of the board of directors of Chinese Yahoo!, director of SoftBank Group, member of the Business Advisory Committee under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization (APEC), dean of the Alibaba Business College with Hangzhou Normal University, director of Huayi Bros. Media Group, and professor at Beijing Huaxia Management College.
"Never give up," Ma always says. "It is difficult to start an enterprise, but even more difficult to keep it going. For some people, passion comes and goes quickly. I hope you can maintain this pioneering spirit for a lifetime."