Industry

Jack Ma: success made in China

English teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma.  

China is celebrating the success of e-commerce giant, the Alibaba group, whose stocks jumped 38 per cent on the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Friday, turning English teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma’s economic powerhouse into the world’s 17th largest public firm.

The normally sedate State-run news agency, Xinhua, was effusive in praising the outpouring of investor confidence shown at the NYSE in the home-grown group, and its founder, as a “China miracle.” It’s not hard to fathom why Mr. Ma has turned into a cult figure, making a huge impact on the collective psyche, especially of millions of cyber-connected young and ambitious Chinese. In a country, which has dreams of eclipsing the United States as the world’s leading economic and cultural powerhouse, Mr. Ma’s success story has acquired special meaning. Alibaba’s headline-grabbing triumph is being viewed as a solid vote of confidence in China’s capacity to churn out its own world-beating entrepreneurship, whose DNA is distinctively Chinese.

Unlike products of foreign universities, Mr. Ma has drawn inspiration by dipping into China’s own cultural idiom — a factor that has resonated resoundingly with his growing army of admirers. As a child, Mr. Ma learnt showmanship from his parents, both practitioners of the “pingtan,” the Chinese tradition of musical storytelling. Characters from Kung Fu novels, who glorified and embodied a combative spirit and righteousness, also left a deep impact on young Jack Ma — a feature that became a trademark of his business conduct in later years. Mr. Ma’s nickname “Feng Qingyang” is drawn from a legendary swordsman, known for his reclusiveness, unpredictability and aggression.

A role model for cyber-savvy Chinese

The success of Jack Ma’s Alibaba group on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday is being viewed as a solid vote of confidence in China’s capacity to nurture its own, world-beating entrepreneurs.

Unlike those who have been products of foreign universities, Mr. Ma has drawn inspiration by dipping into China’s unique cultural idiom — a factor that has resonated resoundingly with his growing army of admirers. As a child, Mr. Ma learnt showmanship from his parents, both practitioners of the “pingtan,” the Chinese tradition of musical storytelling. Characters from Kung Fu novels, who glorified and embodied a combative spirit and righteousness, also left a deep impact on young Jack — a feature that became a trademark of his business conduct in later years. In fact, Mr. Ma’s nickname “Feng Qingyang” is drawn from a legendary swordsman, known for his reclusiveness, unpredictability and aggression.

Ready to take on anybody, except the government, Mr. Ma, made it well-known to his 17 comrades, who had joined him in 1999 at the basement of his home in Hangzhou, where Alibaba was first launched, that Chinese brains could more than match the Americans. In a speech that was caught on camera, he said: “Chinese brains are just as good as theirs and this is the reason we dare to compete with Americans.”

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 10:07:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/alibabas-jack-ma-success-made-in-china/article6430628.ece

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