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This is the latest video by Aussie YouTuber, Cold Fusion who does a great job of making informative mini-documentaries. This one is about the famously improbable rise of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce, electronic payment and cloud computing multinational conglomerate with an annual gross revenue of over $56 billion and over 100,000 employees in 2019.

The figure of Alibaba founder, Jack Ma is the polar opposite to that of a typical Silicon Valley wunderkind. He considered himself to be a serial failure, having been rejected by Harvard Business School ten times and having failed even to land a job at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

He was 31 in 1995 when he was first shown the Internet, back when China was still completely unconnected and he says he instantly understood its possibilities. He was 33 when he acquired his first computer and he was 35 and had recently been earning $12 per month as an English teacher when he succeeded in raising $25 million from Goldman-Sachs to perfect an e-commerce platform for the Chinese market and in turn, introduce China to the rest of the world through the Internet. This coincided with the very moment when China was growing into the massive manufacturing powerhouse that it has since become.

Alibaba’s 2014 Initial Public Offering (IPO) was the biggest in US history, bigger than Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined, raising $25 billion. Alibaba’s subsequent expansion into cloud computing services, entertainment and newspapers appears to be following the Amazon model. Today, Jack Ma is the richest person in China, with a personal net worth of over $41 billion.

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Alexandra Bruce

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