Jack Ma: From teacher to billionaire
The chairman and co-founder of Alibaba has stepped down his throne and handed over his legacy to his successor to circle back to his first love - education.
The charismatic English teacher-turned-businessman, Jack Ma, has officially stepped down as the chairman of the colossal Chinese retail Alibaba on September 10.
Contrary to Alibaba's now-amplitude, the e-commerce giant was founded by Ma two decades ago in a small shared apartment in Hangzhou city in eastern China.
This was not his first time. Alibaba was Ma's third attempt at setting up a company after he convinced friends to give him a loan to kick-start his dream.
The company is now valued at a net worth of $38.6billion making Ma the richest man of China, according to Forbes.
The tearful Ma, donning a guitar and a rock star wig at the event for thousands of Alibaba employees, delivered on his promise of a year ago to hand over his legacy to Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang during a four-hour celebration.
"After tonight I will start a new life. I do believe the world is good, there are so many opportunities, and I love excitement so much, which is why I will retire early," Ma told guests and employees.
But the questions remain: How did all this begin and who is Jack Ma?
A Hollywood story
Ma, whose Chinese name is Ma Yun, has often described himself as something on an accidental entrepreneur, giving up his university teaching for the hustle of trade after discovering the internet.
He was born to a poor family in Hangzhou, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang in 1964. Ma began his career as a teacher.
He struggled in school, and in interviews, he said that he was rejected from Harvard ten times and repeatedly rejected for jobs.
At the age of 33, Ma bought his first computer and was surprised when no Chinese beers turned up in his first online search for "beer".
Describing his uprising as a "Hollywood story" during an interview with The New York Times in 2005, he said that he traveled to California in 1995 to help collect a debt that an American businessman owed to a Chinese firm.
But the man had a gun and held him captive in a Malibu mansion for two days. He escaped from the captivation after promising that he would make the captivator his partner in an internet venture.
This is where it all began and the rest is history as we know it.
The final plan
Stepping down the throne on his 54th birthday, Ma has decided to devote his time and a sum of his infinite wealth on his first love - education.
He said that he wanted to spend the money he earned from Alibaba on improving and changing the education system in China instead of handing it to investors or banks.
The former English teacher said that he is choosing to do so because he loves teaching.
Ma added that he still considered himself to be young and that he wanted to spend another 15 years in the education sector.
He has created his own eponymous foundation -- the Jack Ma Foundation in 2014 -- a charity dedicated to improving the environment, public health, and his original calling: education.