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Mobile MAUs inChina retail marketplaces reached 507 million in March, an increase of 14million over December 2016.Jack Ma & Early LifeJack Ma born MaYun was born on October 15, 1964, in Hangzhou, located in the southeastern partof China. He has an older brother and a younger sister. He and his siblingsgrew up at a time when communist China was increasingly isolated from the West,and his family didn’t have much money when they were young. Ma was scrawny andoften got into fights with classmates. “I was never afraid of opponentswho were bigger than I,” he recalls in “Alibaba,” a book by LiuShiying and Martha Avery.

Still, Ma had hobbies just like any other kid. Heliked collecting crickets and making them fight, and was able to distinguishthe size and type of cricket just by the sound it made. After President Nixonvisited Hangzhou in 1972, Ma’s hometown became a tourist mecca. As a teenager,Ma started waking up early to visit the city’s main hotel, offering visitorstours of the city in exchange for English lessons. The nickname”Jack” was given to him by a tourist he befriended. Without money orconnections, the only way Ma could get ahead was through education. After highschool, he applied to go to college, but failed the entrance exam twice.

Aftera great deal of studying, he finally passed on the third try, going on toattend Hangzhou Teachers Institute. He graduated in 1988 and started applyingto as many jobs as he could. He received more than a dozen rejections,including from KFC, before being hired as an English teacher. Ma was a naturalwith his students and loved his job, though he only made $12 a month at a localuniversity. At the World Economic Forum in 2016, Jack Ma revealed he has evenbeen rejected from Harvard 10 times!  Mahad no experience with computers or coding, but he was captivated by theinternet when he used it for the first time during a trip to the US in 1995. Hehad recently started a translation business and made the trip to help a Chinesefirm recover a payment. Ma’s first online search was “beer,” but hewas surprised to find that no Chinese beers turned up in the results.

It wasthen that he decided to found an internet company for China.   Alibaba It’s almosteasier to list what Alibaba group doesn’t do.Alibaba.com was setup by the company’s founder Jack Ma in 1999. This platform helped to mediatewith exporters in China with companies in over 190 countries around the world.For example, the structure allowed businesses in the UK to find a manufacturerin China and have a range of goods produced and shipped.

It’s not justbusinesses that used Alibaba’s websites but also SMEs and individual consumers.It also owns taobao.com, China’s largest shopping website, and tmall.com, whichoffers a wide range of branded goods to China’s emerging middle class.

Alibaba runsthe online payment system alipay.com, which operates like Paypal.It holds largestake in Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and the online video provider,Youku Tudou, which operates in a similar way to YouTube.The company alsooffers online marketing, cloud computing and a logistics operation.Alibaba’s growthin its core business has allowed it to expand into new areas. It recentlybought a 50% stake in China’s most successful football club, GuangzhouEvergrande  and a controlling stake in afilm production business. **heading Alibaba’sgrowth from a start-up employing 18 people in 1999 to a worldwide companyemploying 50,092 is down to its ability to harness the world of internetcommerce. It accounts for 80% of all online retail sales in China.

Onlinemarketplaces often refer to gross merchandise volume (GMV), which measures thevalue of items sold and therefore it is seen as an indication of the size oftheir business.Alibaba reportedGMV of $547bn for the year to 2017, Amazon does not publish a GMV figure but industryestimates put it at $147bn for last year. Revenue for these marketplaces comesfrom fees and a percentage paid on each sale. On this measure, Alibaba’sperformance still lags behind other e-commerce giants. But it is Alibaba’slucrative business model that has got many investors excited. The company’soperating margin, a measure of its efficiency , far exceeds those of itsrivals.

China now hasover 751 million internet users, out of a population of 1.38 billion people. Thatcompares with 286.9 million internet users in the US and 546 million in Europe.Revenue streamAlibaba makes mostof its revenue from advertisement on its various websites without charging anylisting fees.

**CHANGE THISAccording to its latestfiling with US regulators, 279 million active buyers and 8.5 million activesellers use Alibaba’s online services every year and 14.5 billion annual ordersare made. So it’s not hard to see why advertisers find the websites so appealing.As the companysimply connects customers and businesses charging only a small commission, itdoes not need huge amounts of infrastructure to make the system work.

Work cultureNot everycompany boss would dress himself in leather, don a Mohican wig, lipstick and anose ring and sing Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight? to his 16,000employees.That was exactlywhat Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, did to celebrate the company’s 10thanniversary.Mr Ma started thecompany in 1999 with $60,000 raised from around 80 friends in Hangzhou insouthern China.

He is now worth an estimated $42.6bn through his 7%stake in Alibaba, according to Bloomberg. Jack Ma stepped down as CEO on May10th 2013. The news was reported earlier by the New York Times. Speakingto the newspaper in an email interview Ma said: 

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