Jack Ma just became China’s richest person – who is he?


Alibaba’s record-breaking stock market listing has made its founder, Jack Ma, a pretty penny.

The biggest IPO in US stock market history, finally listing at $25bn, has rocketed Ma up from number eight on China’s rich list all the way to the top spot.

Ma’s Alibaba e-commerce site provides a full suite of internet services in China, filling roles that Amazon, Twitter and eBay fulfil in the west.  

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, Ma now has a net worth of $21.8bn, putting him a clear $5bn ahead of his nearest rival, Ma Hueteng, founder of Tencent, a direct competitor of Alibaba.

Ma actually stepped down as CEO of Alibaba in May, apparently to pave the way for younger staff.

Alibaba was founded in 1999, and its sales make up an astonishing 2% of China’s entire GDP – more than the combined sales of US giants Amazon and eBay. This is due to the fact that around 80% of all internet transactions in China go through Alibaba’s various sites.

Before founding Alibaba, Ma founded China Yellow Pages – the country’s first internet company – and went on to head the China International Electronic Commerce Centre.

Not bad going, and he’s just 49, so plenty of time to enjoy his billions.

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