Date
22 November 2017
Jack Ma had to overcome rejection by prospective employers, banks and numerous skeptics on his way to becoming the richest man in mainland China. Photo: Reuters
Jack Ma had to overcome rejection by prospective employers, banks and numerous skeptics on his way to becoming the richest man in mainland China. Photo: Reuters

When Jack Ma could not get a job

Jack Ma Yun, founding chairman of e-commerce godzilla Alibaba Group, is worth at least US$20 billion.

But before he was the richest person in China, Ma went through a lot of rejection, Business Insider reported.

In a recent cable television interview with New York talk show host Charlie Rose, Ma revealed that he failed a university entrance exam three times.

Unable to enter university, he applied for 30 different jobs and was rejected every time.

“I went for a job with the police; they said, ‘You’re no good,’” Ma told Rose.

“I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy …”

Ma later did get into a university in his hometown, Hangzhou in Zhejiang province, and became a teacher of English.

When he founded Alibaba in 1998 in his flat in Hangzhou, he met more obstacles.

The business did not turn a profit for its first three years. One of the firm’s main hurdles was it had no way to handle payments, and no banks would work with the unknown start-up.

Ma decided to start his own payment program, called Alipay, which transfers payments in different currencies from international buyers to sellers.

“So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, ‘This is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had,’” Ma told Rose.

“I didn’t care if it was stupid, as long as people could use it.”

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