Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Business Intelligence Contact Centers More Topics...
Business Briefing
Register for a certification exam.
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Behind Alibaba IPO Is Unlikely China Success Story
Behind Alibaba IPO Is Unlikely China Success Story

By Kevin Chan
May 12, 2014 9:27AM

Bookmark and Share
Jack Ma, Alibaba's CEO, is a former English teacher who flunked his college entrance exam twice. He founded Alibaba in his apartment in 1999 with 17 friends and $60,000 they had raised. Charismatic by the gray standards of Chinese CEOs, the impish Ma has cult status in China, where he's seen as the equivalent of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.
 



The mammoth IPO planned by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group highlights founder Jack Ma's improbable rise to China's entrepreneur-in-chief.

Ma, a former English teacher who flunked his college entrance exam twice, founded Alibaba in his apartment in 1999 with 17 friends and $60,000 they had raised. Charismatic by the gray standards of Chinese CEOs, the impish Ma has cult status in China, where he's seen as the equivalent of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.

In a country where state-owned enterprises dominate business and many owe their wealth to Communist Party ties, Ma stands out for his huge self-made success. Alibaba, which started as a site to link Chinese manufacturers with buyers overseas, became under Ma an e-commerce behemoth that is now expanding into banking, digital maps and online video.

The paperwork for Alibaba's initial public offering says it will raise at least $1 billion from the U.S. listing, but finance professionals believe that is a conservative notional figure to get the IPO process rolling. Estimates for the amount that could be raised have ranged from $10 billion to $20 billion. The price at which shares are sold might give Alibaba a market valuation of $200 billion, which is greater than Facebook.

Ma, who owns 8.9 percent of the company, is likely to become even wealthier following the IPO. He's already worth $8.4 billion, making him China's fifth-richest person, according to Forbes.

Ma, 49, stepped down as CEO last year, saying in a letter to employees that he's "no longer young for the Internet business." He remains chairman and an important figurehead for the company's 22,000 employees, though he's now focusing on philanthropy and recently established a charitable trust potentially worth billions.

"It would be hard to find a private citizen in China who's had such a big impact on the economy," said Porter Erisman, maker of a documentary about Alibaba and the company's former vice president of marketing. "I look at him as the pied piper of entrepreneurs in China. He created this platform, he pushed China online."

Ma is known as an enthralling speaker with a penchant for puns and slogans who enjoys performing at annual company meetings called Alifests. To mark the company's 10th anniversary in 2009, some 16,000 staff gathered in a stadium at Alibaba's Hangzhou home base were treated to a performance by Ma dressed as a punk rocker.

The entrepreneur may have inherited his knack for showmanship from his parents, who were performers of pingtan, a traditional form of storytelling and balladry that was banned during the violent upheaval of the Cultural Revolution. (continued...)

1  |  2  |  3  |  Next Page >

 


© 2014 Associated Press under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



APC has an established a reputation for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime with reliable data center systems and IT solutions. Learn more here.


 Business Briefing
1.   Earnings, Excitement Grow for Apple
2.   Can One Size Windows OS Fit All?
3.   Target App Makes Shopping a Snap


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 
Dropbox for Business Beefs Up Security
Dropbox is upping its game for business users. The cloud-based storage and sharing company has rolled out new security, search and other features to boost its appeal for businesses.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Microsoft Makes Design Central to Its Future
Over the last four years, Microsoft has doubled the number of designers it employs, putting a priority on fashioning devices that work around people's lives -- and that are attractive and cool.
 
Contrary to Report, Lenovo's Staying in Small Windows Tablets
Device maker Lenovo has clarified a report that indicated it is getting out of the small Windows tablet business -- as in the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-inch Miix 2. But the firm said it is not exiting that market.
 
Seagate Unveils Networked Drives for Small Businesses
Seagate is out with five new networked attached storage products aimed at small businesses. The drives are for companies with up to 50 workers, and range in capacity from two to 20 terabytes.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Business Intelligence | Contact Centers | Sales & Marketing | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.