the Billionaire Who Created and Founded Alibaba

Estimated read time 2 min read
  • Jack Ma is the billionaire founder of Alibaba and Ant Group.
  • Ma has experienced financial success and scrutiny from his many business ventures.
  • He grew up poor and faced multiple job rejections but amassed billions. Here’s a look at Ma’s life.

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Jack Ma, Alibaba and Ant Group founder, has been making moves during the last year after a lengthy hiatus. 

Ma, who disappeared from public view in 2020 and resurfaced in Thailand in January 2023, most recently made news when The New York Times reported in January of this year that he had been buying up Alibaba shares again.

Ma faced a crackdown from Chinese regulators in 2020 that resulted in an antitrust investigation, a suspended IPO, and Ma losing $12 billion of his fortune in just a few months. 

However, Ma quietly made moves throughout 2023, including a teaching gig at Tokyo College, investing in an agrotech startup, and incorporating a pre-packaged food company.

According to Bloomberg, his net worth is now estimated at $30.6 billion. In July 2023, China hit Ant Group with a nearly $1 billion fine, marking the end of its crackdown, The Wall Street Journal reported.

While Ma has had a challenging few years, adversity is nothing new to him. He grew up poor in communist China, failed his university entrance exam twice, and was rejected from dozens of jobs, including one at KFC, before finding success with his third internet company, Alibaba.

Here’s how Ma got his start and made his fortune.

Jillian D’Onfro, Charles Clark, and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this post.