Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 19 Jack Ma $42.4B

Random fact: Taught English for $15 a month as his first job.

Overview

Ma is the founder of Alibaba Group, China's biggest e-commerce company. The Hangzhou-based business runs Taobao, an online shopping site, and Tmall, a facilitator of online stores. The group had revenue of 377 billion yuan ($56.2 billion) in the year to March 2019. Ma also has a stake in online payment service Alipay.

As of :
Last change -$402M ( -0.9%)
YTD change +$6.74B ( +18.9%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset BABA US Equity
Citizenship China
Age 55
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Jack Ma's net worth of $42.4B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Ma's wealth is derived from publicly traded Alibaba Group Holdings and its online payment service Alipay, which is owned by closely held Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group.

Ma owns 5.3% of Alibaba, China's largest e-commerce company, according to the company's annual report for the year to March 31, 2019. He holds the shares directly and through holding companies, including APN, a Cayman Islands-based company in which he has a 70% interest, JSP Investment and JC Properties. Shares held by Yun Capital and Ying Capital are excluded from the net worth calculation because these companies are wholly-owned by The Jack Ma Philanthropic Foundation.

He's also credited with 8.8% of Ant Financial, valued at $150 billion. The valuation was updated on June 15, 2018 to reflect the latest funding round and this resulted in a decrease in the net wealth calculation of about $4 billion.

Bloomberg reporting revealed he had a 48.5% stake of Ant Financial in September 2014, when he began reducing his interest as part of a compensation plan for executives. He was expected to reduce his interest to "no more than 8.8%" over the course of three-to-five years, according to Alibaba's 2014 initial public offering prospectus. The net worth analysis assumes that Ma has diluted his stakes to 8.8%, after the latest funding round and 33% sale to Alibaba announced on Feb. 1, 2018.

A spokeswoman for Alibaba Group, declined to comment on Ma's wealth.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/10/1964
Family: Married, 1 child
Education: Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou Teachers University

Jack Ma was born in September 1964 to Chinese traditional musician-storytellers living in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that’s also a global high-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship.

Ma taught himself English at age 12 and offered free guided tours, practicing his English with U.S. visitors and listening to Voice of America broadcasts. He applied for college, failing the entrance exam twice before enrolling at Hangzhou Teachers College. He graduated and his first job paid him $15 a month for three years.

His proficiency in English enabled him to get a part-time job in 1995 as an interpreter for Chinese and American businessmen. He encountered his first computer and the internet during a visit to a friend's house in Seattle. With the help of friends, he created a home page for his translation business the next day and received five responses.

Ma returned to China and started China Pages, a business that established websites for small businesses. He then took a government job where he met a first-time visitor to China, Jerry Yang, the co-founder of Yahoo. By 1999, Ma started Alibaba.com, a business-to-business marketplace, backed by $60,000 from 18 co-founders. Alibaba.com reached 1 million users in 2002. He decided to replicate the success with China's consumers by building Taobao.com, a retail site, followed by an online payment platform called Alipay.

To help build the business, Ma sought an internet search engine partner and was contacted by Yang. They struck a deal whereby Yahoo bought a 40 percent stake in closely held Alibaba Group for $1 billion. Friction followed as Yahoo's business was being eroded by the ascendency of Google, while Alibaba dominated China's e-commerce sphere. Ma tried and failed to buy back the stake from Yahoo, and even considered buying Yahoo outright.

The relationship soured further. In order to secure an operating license for online payments, Ma transferred Alipay from Alibaba Group to a closely held company under his control in May 2011. Yahoo said Ma's spinoff was done without the approval of Alibaba's board, which then included Jerry Yang, and diluted Yahoo's investment. Ma said Chinese regulators would balk at approving the license because foreign investors owned Alibaba. The parties settled in July 2011. After months of talks, Ma agreed in May 2012 to pay Yahoo $7.1 billion for its 20 percent stake in Alibaba, plus royalties for as long as four years.

Alibaba's initial public offering in September 2014 was the biggest in the world. He said at that time that he's not happy being China's richest man and would someday return to teaching.

Ma relinquished his roles as Alibaba CEO in May 2013 and chairman in September 2019.

Milestones
  • 1964 Jack Ma is born in Hangzhou, China.
  • 1988 Graduates from Hangzhou Teachers College.
  • 1995 Encounters his first computer during a visit to Seattle.
  • 1999 Raises $60,000 to start Alibaba.com.
  • 2005 Yahoo buys a 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group for $1 billion.
  • 2007 Alibaba.com holds initial public offering in Hong Kong.
  • 2012 Delists the online retailer from the Hong Kong stock exchange.
  • 2013 Retires as Alibaba Group CEO, remains as chairman.
  • 2014 Raises $25 billion in world's biggest initial public offering.
  • 2015 Alibaba acquires the South China Morning Post.