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Thread: Jack Ma & Alibaba

  1. #1
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    Jack Ma & Alibaba

    Zen? A Japanese term?
    September 13, 2011, 5:36 PM HKT
    Jet Li Ashamed of China’s Soft Power

    Chinese leaders aren’t the only ones frustrated with the nation’s lack of “soft power” influence–Jet Li is, too, and he wants to do something about it.

    The Chinese martial artist-turned-movie star is starting a taichi school with Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma, which he hopes will break stereotypes of taichi as an art practiced only by old people in parks. Mr. Li said he wants it to one day be as cool to practice taichi as it is watch American movies, watch Japanese animation or study South Korea’s taekwondo.

    “China is an economic powerhouse,” Mr. Li said at Alibaba Group’s annual summit for small to medium-sized business owners in Hangzhou. But the world’s most populous country has little cultural influence compared to the U.S., South Korea and Japan, he said.

    The actor’s new venture could indeed give a boost to China’s efforts to export its culture, which have involved investments in the billions of dollars but have been criticized as unimaginative. Among Beijing’s recent soft-power plays: an international network of state-sponsored language institutes, a 17-minute long promotional film panned by Chinese Internet users as blatantly propagandistic and a giant advertisement in Times Square showing photos of wealthy and successful Chinese people who most Americans don’t recognize.

    Mr. Li, who has starred in major movies on both sides of the Pacific including the 2002 Zhang Yimou epic “Hero,” lamented that Hollywood and other cultural industries make up a significant portion of GDP in the U.S. but represent only a fraction of China’s economy. “Italian coffee is better than Starbucks,” but consumers around the world recognize Starbucks more than Italian coffee “because it’s a cultural experience,” he said.

    He did not disclose financial details of his partnership with Mr. Ma, but said the company will be called Taichi Zen International Culture Company.

    For China not to have a contribution to the rest of the world would be a “pity,” he said. “I feel shame before my ancestors,” he added, saying he wants kids to be proud of their “national culture.”
    Gene Ching
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    Been wondering what was happening wth this...

    I heard an interesting update on this project at CMAT. I'm verifying it. If true, there will be follow up.
    China Exclusive: Alibaba founder, kung fu star promote Chinese martial art
    English.news.cn 2013-04-13 15:43:07

    HANGZHOU, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Jack Ma and action movie star Jet Li have joined hands to promote "taiji," a branch of Chinese martial arts practiced for both fitness and self-defense.

    At an entrepreneur exchange activity held Friday night in Beijing, Ma, wearing a flowing kung fu outfit, took the stage and performed taiji. Li also showed up to discuss the benefits of taiji.

    Ma and Li established a company called Taiji Zen International two years ago with the aim of spreading the culture of taiji to the world.

    The company, located in Xixi National Wetland Park in the city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province, will start providing taiji courses to the public in May. It will also start offering online courses in August.

    The 48-year-old Ma has been practicing taiji since his college years.

    "What I have learned most from taiji is philosophical insight, such as the notion of yin and yang, which is a theory that states that things will develop in opposite directions when they become extreme and that people should learn to be moderate," he said.

    Ma has been introducing Alibaba employees to the world of taiji and he has even written a film script with a taiji them.

    "Most mainstream sports in China nowadays are imported from abroad. We want to introduce the world to the legacy left by our ancestors and make taiji more fashionable," Li said.

    Li said entrepreneurs can be a strong force in spreading traditional culture, adding that the efforts of entrepreneurs in Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) have contributed greatly to the worldwide popularity of judo, karate, and taekwondo.

    However, Ma and Li have also recognized the difficulty of popularizing taiji among young people, as its slow movements are typically viewed as more suitable for the elderly.

    The Alibaba Group has served as an experimental area for Ma and Li to learn how to popularize the martial art. Taiji is part of Alibaba employee training, with about 1,500 employees learning taiji in 2012. The company's 20,000 employees also use taiji as a way to take a break from their daily work.

    Galeeva Guzel, a Russian woman who works for Alibaba, said taiji can help people calm down and reduce their stress. Another employee named Xu Weijie said taiji has helped him learn to complain less when he is bothered by other people.

    Ma said taiji culture can be applied to corporate management.

    "Like a taiji practitioner, a company should learn to control its pace of movement and choose the right time to take action," Ma said.

    Li said taiji is not only a way to stay fit, but also a cultural symbol with profound philosophical connotations.

    "I don't oppose Chinese people buying foreign brands and driving fancy foreign cars, but I think we should spare some time for traditional culture and remember our Chinese identity," Li said.
    Gene Ching
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    Good one Subatai

    Who says wushu taiji lacks power? Desks beware!

    Meanwhile, back on topic:
    Jet Li, Jack Ma Open Institution to Teach Zen, Tai Chi
    2013-09-21 16:05:24 Xinhua Web Editor: Wang Wei



    Shadowboxing master Wang Xi'an (L) and his disciples perform at the inauguration ceremony of Taiji Zen, in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 20, 2013. Taiji Zen, a joint venture of Kung Fu star Jet Li (Li Lianjie) and Jack Ma (Ma Yun), founder of Alibaba Group, opened officially in Hangzhou on Friday. The institution will teach students the philosophy of zen and Tai Chi Quan, or shadowboxing. [Photo: Xinhua/Ju Huanzong]



    Jet Li (Li Lianjie), famous Kung Fu star and founder of the One Foundation, speaks at the inauguration ceremony of Taiji Zen, in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 20, 2013. Taiji Zen, a joint venture of Kung Fu star Jet Li (Li Lianjie) and Jack Ma (Ma Yun), founder of Alibaba Group, opened officially in Hangzhou on Friday. The institution will teach students the philosophy of zen and Tai Chi Quan, or shadowboxing. [Photo: Xinhua/Ju Huanzong]


    Famous Kung Fu star Jet Li (L) and shadowboxing master Wang Xi'an (R) attend the inauguration of Taiji Zen, in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 20, 2013. Taiji Zen, a joint venture of Kung Fu star Jet Li (Li Lianjie) and Jack Ma (Ma Yun), founder of Alibaba Group, opened officially in Hangzhou on Friday. The institution will teach students the philosophy of zen and Tai Chi Quan, or shadowboxing. [Photo: Xinhua/Ju Huanzong]
    Gene Ching
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    Do you know Jack?

    Jack Ma: remember me first as a tai chi master
    Staff Reporter
    2013-12-16
    08:55 (GMT+8)


    Jet Li, left, and Jack Ma. (Photo/Xinhua)


    Jet Li, left, and Wang Xian, right, attending the opening ceremony of the Tai Chi Zen institution in Hangzhou, September. (Photo/Xinhua)

    Jack Ma, chairman of China's leading e-commerce company Alibaba, is an avid practitioner of the Chinese internal martial art tai chi. He claims to be an apprentice of tai chi master Wang Xian and has included the martial art into company training and recruitment programs, reports the Chinese-language Henan Business Daily.

    The business tycoon could not even resist pushing tai chi when signing a deal with the Henan government in November for the Cainiao Network Technology, an online logistic network for retailers. While inking the deal, Ma appeared in black cloth shoes and a traditional Mandarin shirt. He looked more like to a martial artist than a businessman.

    Wang is the one of the representative masters of the Chen-style tai chi chuan, which originates from the village of Chen in Henan province. In early 2009, Ma asked his assistant to find the best tai chi master in the country after practicing the martial art in Hangzhou for some time. The assistant found Wang and invited the tai chi master to Ma's holiday villa in Sanya in 2009. Ma learned tai chi from Wang for four days and officially become Wang's apprentice after taking his third lesson around October in the same year.

    Both of them are too busy to arrange regular lessons. Whenever both of them are available they spend four to five days together. Wang instructs Ma for two two-hour sessions, one in the morning and afternoon.

    Ma has encouraged other business magnates, such as Wang Zhongjun, chairman of Shenzhen-listed film company Huayi Brothers Media, and Shen Guojun, the current chairman of Beijing-based China Yintai Holdings, to learn tai chi. He brought them to Chen village for a tai chi 'pilgrimage.'

    Ma has incorporated the health practice into company routine to alleviate workplace stress by opening tai chi classes. Around 400 employees attended the first round of tai chi classes in Hanzhou's Chengxi and Bingjiang district. Other senior Alibaba officials joined in the second round. Ma hired five Chen-style tai chi practitioners who won national contests in 2011 to teach weekly at Alibaba.

    Alibaba's new employees are required to perform tai chi forms during their performance evaluations, which play a role in deciding their future at the company, said Wang's assistant Yan. Tai chi lessons are held regularly and those who miss lessons have to make them up on Saturday.

    No matter what other people or the outside world does, people should focus on doing what they have set out to do, and doing it well, said Ma. He wants to find a way to be calmer and slower in an increasingly restless society.

    Ma's vision is that one day people can remember him as a tai chi master foremost, rather than solely as the founder of China's largest internet company and online shopping website, said Ma's assistant.

    Ma has backed his ambitions with the founding of a company called Tai Chi Zen, which he promoted with kung fu star Jet Li in Hangzhou in April 2011. The two and Wang have been taking turns teaching tai chi at Alibaba's tai chi institution in Hangzhou every month since May this year.

    References:
    Jack Ma  馬雲
    Wang Xian  王西安
    Chen-style Tai Chi Chuan  陳氏太極拳
    Jet Li  李連杰
    Tai Chi Zen  太極禪
    Anyone working with this program yet?
    Gene Ching
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  5. #5
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    Jack Ma

    Fascinating. There's some more intriguing links on the site.

    Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Takes Center Stage Ahead of IPO
    Charismatic Executive Chairman of Chinese E-commerce Giant Is Sometimes Described as Alibaba's Spiritual Leader
    By Paul Mozur And Juro Osawa
    Updated May 5, 2014 7:28 a.m. ET

    Jack Ma started China's Internet giant Alibaba from his apartment in Hangzhou. Porter Erisman, a former Alibaba employee, shares an insider's look at Ma's rise to the top.

    Last May, 40,000 Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. employees and customers met at a Hangzhou soccer stadium in driving rain to watch Jack Ma step down as chief executive of the Chinese e-commerce giant he founded in his apartment 15 years ago.

    Before his valedictory speech, Mr. Ma belted out the Chinese pop song "I Love You, China," from the stage. The crowd roared.

    "Taking over from Jack Ma is a difficult job," he said, dressed in oversize glasses and a shiny silver jacket.

    The three-hour extravaganza was a testament to the central role the 49-year-old Mr. Ma played—and continues to play—in what is arguably the world's biggest e-commerce company. Some employees describe the charismatic Mr. Ma as Alibaba's spiritual leader.

    As Alibaba prepares to submit its first major filings as early as this week in what could be one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history, Mr. Ma—now executive chairman—still looms large in the company's dealings. (Explore how to define Alibaba in an interactive and see a timeline of Alibaba's rise.)

    "I thought it would be easier when I stepped down from CEO, but now I'm finding out being a chairman, if you want to be a good chairman, is much busier than being a CEO," Mr. Ma told The Wall Street Journal.

    Mr. Ma's success has given him celebrity status in China, where bookstore shelves stock his biographies and airports replay clips of his motivational speeches on business management.

    Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in the world's most populous country, dwarfs its U.S. counterparts. In 2013, the combined transaction volume of its Taobao e-commerce marketplace and another Alibaba-run shopping site called Tmall reached $240 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the figure. That is triple the size of eBay Inc., EBAY -1.65% more than double the size of Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -2.74% Alipay, Alibaba's online payment platform, last year handled more than triple the amount of mobile payments processed by PayPal.

    Even after the expected multibillion-dollar IPO, Alibaba's corporate structure will allow Mr. Ma, who owns about 7% of the company, to have a say in nominating more than half of its board. Mr. Ma also owns 46% of the holding company that controls Alipay.

    Mr. Ma has been at the center of Alibaba's efforts to expand beyond e-commerce. Vehicles in which Mr. Ma owns a stake have invested in Chinese finance and media companies—in at least one case using loans from Alibaba.

    Such deals may raise questions about whether Mr. Ma would ever prioritize his own investments over the interest of Alibaba shareholders, said Paul McKenzie, an analyst at Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA. Mr. Ma didn't comment on his investments.

    Even though he is no longer CEO, Mr. Ma remains the face of Alibaba. As the e-commerce company expands further into financial services, Mr. Ma has traded barbs with some of China's big banks.

    In an interview with the state-run People's Daily last year, Mr. Ma said China's banks aren't lending to the country's small businesses: "I see there are 80% of the clients that are not covered."

    At a conference last month, China Minsheng Bank Corp. 600016.SH -0.52% Chairman Dong Wenbiao defended the current banking system and questioned Alibaba's financial ambitions. "I said to Jack Ma, 'Give up your reform efforts. You don't have the ability,' " Mr. Dong said.

    When Alibaba celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Taobao shopping site, founder Jack Ma took the stage to sing in front of 40,000 employees and customers at a Hangzhou stadium.

    Mr. Ma was born in Hangzhou, a city of 2.4 million people near Shanghai. His parents were performers of a traditional Chinese musical theater called pingtan. He came of age during China's economic flowering in the 1980s, learning English while an unpaid tour guide to foreign visitors.

    After twice failing China's national university entrance exam, Mr. Ma was accepted to Hangzhou Teacher's Institute and graduated in 1988. As the economy improved in the early 1990s, Mr. Ma began looking beyond teaching for work in business. He has said he was rejected for a number of jobs, including as a manager at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

    During a 1995 trip to Seattle as a translator for a trade delegation, Mr. Ma went online for the first time. When he saw how scant information was about China, he set out to create his own company. That year, Mr. Ma started China Pages, an online directory of Chinese companies; Alibaba followed in 1999.

    Colleagues say Mr. Ma—who is married with a son and daughter—loves performing. At Alibaba's annual "Alifest" conferences for customers and media, Mr. Ma has in past years shared the stage with former President Bill Clinton, Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Mr. Ma has "that ability, even in a room of 600 people, to make people think [he is] talking to one person, to you," said Duncan Clark, a longtime acquaintance and tech consultant based in Beijing.

    Mr. Ma's eccentric performances and his ability to motivate a crowd have helped build a cultlike following among Alibaba employees. At the company's Hangzhou headquarters, Mr. Ma has blessed hundreds of newlywed Alibaba employees in wedding attire during an annual ritual.

    Mr. Ma's decisiveness and his willingness to take big risks helped the company overcome challenges, colleagues said.

    When eBay Inc. entered China in 2002 by teaming up with a local shopping site, Mr. Ma developed Taobao to compete head-on with the U.S. company.

    "Jack said that the best defense is offense," said Joe Tsai, Alibaba's executive vice chairman.

    Mr. Ma also decided that Taobao should let merchants sell without paying listing or transaction fees, even though his first website—Alibaba.com—was barely breaking even. The no-fee model allowed Taobao to attract sellers quickly, and the business soon overtook eBay's Chinese market. Taobao later figured out ways to generate revenue through advertising.

    In 2009, when the global financial crisis hit small Chinese merchants who were using Alibaba.com to find overseas buyers, company executives—including David Wei, Alibaba.com's then CEO—proposed cutting fees by as much as half.

    "Jack said if merchants disappear there will be no Alibaba," Mr. Wei recalled. "Jack didn't even think for a second."

    Cutting fees helped Alibaba.com weather the financial crisis and led to a jump in users, pushing up its net profit by 45% in 2010 over 2009.

    Although Mr. Ma started Alibaba with little background in business or technology, he knew enough to pick the right people.

    Several months after he launched Alibaba, Mr. Ma hired Mr. Tsai, a Taiwanese-born, Yale-educated lawyer. Mr. Tsai has played a central role in Alibaba's fundraising and acquisitions, from the first $5 million investment by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS +0.23% in 1999 to the widely anticipated U.S. IPO.

    Current and former colleagues say Mr. Ma makes decisions with gut instinct.

    In late 2004, when Alibaba decided to launch Alipay, Mr. Ma flew to Guangzhou to visit Jonathan Lu, Alibaba's current chief executive, who was then the head of a regional sales team.

    Mr. Lu recalled Mr. Ma asking whether he knew anything about Alipay, or about PayPal. When Mr. Lu replied that he didn't, Mr. Ma responded, "Good. You are in charge of Alipay," Mr. Lu recalled.

    Corrections and Amplifications

    Alipay was separated from Alibaba in August 2010. An earlier version of this article contained a different text-only timeline that said Alipay and Alibaba were separated in May 2011.
    Gene Ching
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    In WSJ

    Alibaba's sponsorship of this project has such intriguing potential.

    11:53 am ET
    May 26, 2014 ALIBABA
    Jet Li: From Shaolin Temple to Hollywood to Alibaba
    By JURO OSAWA


    Jet Li at press conference in Shanghai on April 16, 2014. Zuma Press
    After appearing in a series of Hollywood movies, Chinese film star Jet Li is adding a new role to his resume: a board director at a film and TV production business that will soon become a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding.

    Li’s nomination to the film company’s board is part of Alibaba’s plans to expand into China’s growing movie industry through its acquisition of ChinaVision Media Group1060.HK -1.62%.

    Alibaba, which is preparing to go public in New York in what could be one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history, said in March that it would buy a 60% stake in Hong Kong-listed ChinaVision for about $804 million.

    In its recent filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange, ChinaVision said that it would change its name to Alibaba Pictures Group once its shareholders approve the acquisition at a meeting in June. The company also said that Li, whose Hollywood film career has included such titles as Lethal Weapon 4 and Romeo Must Die, would join its board as an independent director.

    Other than more publicity Li could help generate, it still isn’t clear what specific roles he might play as a director. Li, whose Chinese name is Li Lianjie, has appeared in Hong Kong martial arts films that became well-known internationally, such as Shaolin Temple and Once Upon a Time in China, before moving on to Hollywood in the late 1990s.

    Apart from Li, three Alibaba executives will also join the board of Alibaba Pictures, according to the filing. ChinaVision said that Alibaba’s ability to analyze mountains of information collected from hundreds of millions of users would be useful when the movie production business tries to develop more customized films and TV shows tailored for certain audiences. Access to Alibaba’s vast Internet customer base would also provide new films and TV shows with broader marketing and distribution channels, ChinaVision said.

    Since the beginning of this year, Alibaba has been trying to expand into entertainment and digital-media industries through acquisitions and newly developed services such as mobile games, as part of its attempt to make its e-commerce and other platforms more attractive.

    After announcing the ChinaVision deal, Alibaba in April registered a company in Hong Kong under the name Alibaba Films Group. Later in the month, it changed the name to Alibaba Pictures Group.
    Gene Ching
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    Jack Ma and Alibaba

    Jack Ma is the most intriguing development in Chinese martial arts since the Beijing Olympics.
    The Alibaba culture: kung fu commerce with a dash of theater
    By Paul Carsten and Stephen Aldred
    BEIJING/HONG KONG Sat Jun 7, 2014 10:34pm EDT



    A woman stands next to a door inside the headquarters of Alibaba in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 23, 2014.

    Credit: Reuters/Chance Chan

    (Reuters) - When Jack Ma and his colleagues sat down in 2001 to lay out Alibaba's defining values, they named them after a martial arts technique drawn from Ma's love of kung fu novels and their heroic themes.

    But the corporate culture of China's biggest e-commerce company also draws heavily from Western values in a mix of East and West that Ma dubbed 'Hupan culture' after the apartment block in Hangzhou where he set up his business.

    These core values, now named the 'Six Vein Spirit Sword' - customer first, teamwork, embrace change, integrity, passion and commitment - shaped Alibaba Group Holding, which began as an online bulletin board for companies in Ma's Hupan Huayuan apartment complex in eastern China.

    Alibaba's aspirations helped it grow from just 18 employees to more than 20,000 today. Along the way, it knocked eBay Inc out of China and is now preparing for a U.S. stock listing that could be the biggest tech IPO to date.

    But its romanticism - and even cultishness - has sometimes sidelined the business reality, almost bankrupting Alibaba in its early years and more recently denying Ma his preferred Hong Kong stock listing.

    "Alibaba is not like a Chinese company, it's a blend of the good parts of East and West," said Andrew Teoh, a former Alibaba executive and founder and managing partner at Ameba Capital. "It's grown huge, but they maintain a start-up culture. Alibaba is a flat structure, bureaucracy is a pet hate there."

    Crucial to this was Savio Kwan, a former General Electric executive, who lifted from the U.S. conglomerate's playbook to introduce a reward system that was new to China at the time. Half an employee's annual appraisal was to be based on their performance. The other half depended on how well they embodied Alibaba's core 'kung fu' values.

    "We wanted to make sure that even in a company of 10,000 people it had this Hupan culture, a start-up culture," said Porter Erisman, a former vice president at Alibaba and director of "Crocodile in the Yangtze", a documentary on Alibaba's first decade. "We didn't want to lose the sense of innovation and teamwork, so those were the systems Savio helped introduce."

    Kwan, who joined Alibaba as chief operating officer in 2001 and left the company in 2012, did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for comment.

    REBELS AND RELIGION

    From day one, Alibaba lacked nothing in ambition.

    "Our core mission was, and is still, to make it easy to do business anywhere," Joe Tsai, Alibaba's executive vice chair, told Reuters in March. "The mission ... is our religion."

    Armed with that quasi-religious fervor, Alibaba grew from a simple business-to-business website hooking up overseas companies with their Chinese suppliers.

    "Savio came and said he would change us from a rough bunch of rebels into a regular army," recalls Li Zhiguo, a former Alibaba employee and now CEO of accounting site Wacai.com.

    By 2003, Alibaba began work on its first major departure from business-to-business e-commerce. Ma summoned a small group of employees, giving them the option to carry on with their normal work or sign a document and begin a secret project, said Shou Yuan, a former employee who took that second option.

    The group gathered in the original Alibaba apartment to create Taobao, the consumer-to-consumer e-commerce site that was launched in 2003 and faced off against eBay, which that year bought rival Chinese site EachNet for $180 million.

    At 4 p.m. every day, the Taobao project group would break from work to swim, do handstands and play video games. "We were just a group of country bumpkins, and our competitor was eBay," Shou recalled.

    By 2006, eBay effectively conceded defeat, shutting down its EachNet site. Today, Alibaba dwarfs its U.S. rival, with the Chinese group's estimated value of around $150 billion more than double that of eBay, and the goods traded over its sites are worth more than eBay's and Amazon.com Inc's combined.

    Driven by Ma's force of personality, Alibaba was able to tilt at windmills, said Duncan Clark, managing director of Beijing-based tech advisory BDA and a former consultant for Alibaba. "He likes to win. They're the company that humbled eBay in China."

    PUTTING THE CULT IN CULTURE

    Alibaba goes a long way to embracing its employees.

    Days after the company filed for its U.S. IPO last month, Ma presided over the company's ninth corporate mass wedding, blessing 102 couples who performed "wedding rituals of ancient times" clad in traditional scarlet and black robes from a 2,000 year-old Chinese dynasty, state media reported.

    The company's annual 'Alifest' is now a stadium-sized event, packed with tens of thousands of employees, families and friends, where workers sing, dance and perform skits. In one act, Ma sported a red and black leather punk rock costume with a long bleached white wig and oversized mohawk to serenade Joe Tsai, Alibaba's financial mastermind.

    Workers sometimes become known by their stage names. One employee was called 'cunzhang', or 'village chief', after he performed sketches as the bumbling head of a rural village.

    All of which has prompted some, including those close to the company, to say it's 'cultish'.

    "I really loved Alibaba, but others weren't able to make sense of it, they didn't know if I was mad," said Shou, one of the Taobao creators.

    CLOSE TO THE EDGE

    Yet Alibaba's romanticized notion of itself and its aspirations have sometimes worked against it.

    From 2000 to 2001, Alibaba's confidence had seen it expand too rapidly. Having almost burned through its money just after the dotcom bubble burst, the company was close to bankruptcy. Senior managers targeted potential investors, pitching a vision of a global network of small- and medium-sized enterprises doing business - with Alibaba as the middle-man.

    "More than a handful of Silicon Valley venture capital firms turned down Alibaba for investment," said David Chao, co-founder and general partner of venture capital firm DCM. "The whole industry went through a nuclear winter after the Internet bubble popped. It was a period where people were just not betting on models that weren't making money or companies that didn't have a clear business model."

    Alibaba was forced to strip down its business, getting rid of international staff and focusing on building a core market in China - a strategy it dubbed 'Back 2 China' or 'B2C'.

    More recently, Alibaba's emphasis on its values has trumped more practical goals. The company was denied entry on to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange after Ma refused to budge on Alibaba's controversial partnership structure that would see an unelected group of 28 people nominate board members. Hong Kong authorities insisted this violated its one-share-one-vote policy, and kept its doors closed to an IPO.

    Alibaba's weighty U.S. listing prospectus mentioned the company's culture and values more than 30 times.

    "If we are not able to maintain our culture, or if our culture fails to deliver the long-term results we expect to achieve, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected," it said.

    (Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)
    Gene Ching
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    Jack Ma

    I really wonder how invested he is in this with everything else that must go on with him being China's richest.
    Alibaba's Jack Ma named China's richest person



    And now in news that surprises no one, Jack Ma was named China’s richest person, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

    At 49 years old and with a net worth of over 21.8 billion USD, the chairman and founder of Alibaba Group Ltd shows no signs of relinquishing the title any time soon. Ma is not just raking in the Chinese reminbi, he’s open for US dollars as well—Alibaba has plans to enter US markets with what could be the largest initial public offering in America’s history.

    His fat wallet beat out Ma Huateng, owner of Tencent, by 5.5 billion dollars and Robin Li, owner of Baidu, by 6 billion dollars.

    One can only assume Ma’s billions come directly from Taobao, Alibaba’s black hole of goods and services, thanks to sales of Picasso paintings and outer space vacations.

    By Briel Waxman

    [Image via ChinaFile]
    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Shanghaiist in News on Aug 29, 2014 4:00 PM
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    Alibaba goes public

    17 September 2014 Last updated at 19:03 ET
    Can Alibaba's kung fu culture floor its global rivals?
    By Lucy Hooker Business reporter, BBC News

    Alibaba's charismatic founder Jack Ma is arguably China's richest man

    The Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, is expected to raise over $25bn (£15bn) in its forthcoming initial public offering. So what will it do with the money?

    Will it buckle down against fierce competition at home, or will it set its sights on international rivals Amazon and eBay?

    China's vast shopping malls have been quieter recently. Fewer shoppers are braving the traffic and the smog to browse the handbags, electronics, scarves and socks.

    And those that do frequently cast a glance at their phones or slip on a pair of shoes, admire the fit, but take home only a mental note of the make and size.

    As elsewhere, China's retail sector has undergone an e-commerce revolution.

    But in China just one name dominates: Alibaba, whose sprawling web of companies has enveloped the market, accounting for more than three-quarters of all internet sales.


    Alibaba celebrated its 15th anniversary this year

    It has a finger in every pie: acting as a marketplace for small businesses, a shop front for imported goods, and a convenient online wallet to settle these transactions.

    More recently it's added banking services, cloud computing and instant messaging. It has stakes in a film company and a football club.

    But that may not be enough to satisfy Jack Ma.

    "In the past decade, we measured ourselves by how much we changed China. In the future, we will be judged by how much progress we bring to the world," he wrote in an open letter as he launched the company's pitch to investors.

    So with an extra $25bn in his pocket will Jack Ma now go global with his peculiar brand of quirkiness and fearlessness?

    Leftover treasure

    Alibaba does already operate internationally. Its bewildering array of platforms means it is able to deliver anything from cheap Chinese car parts to American consumers to fresh New Zealand oysters to China's increasingly wealthy middle classes.

    But so far the company has only a minimal presence within foreign markets.

    Julia Zhu, the founder of Observer Solutions, a China e-commerce research and advisory firm, thinks even a $25bn war chest is unlikely to change that dramatically.

    "They need those funds to continue to grow their empire in China," she says. "All that requires a lot of investment and the competition in China is fierce."


    Jack Ma says e-commerce in the US is "the dessert", supplementary to retailers' main business, but in China e-commerce is "the main course"

    Plus the prospects in China are tantalising. Only around half of China's 1.3 billion population is online.

    Marketing analysts, eMarketer, predict China's retail market will overtake the size of the US market by 2017. And the number of those shopping via computers and smartphones is increasingly rapidly.

    Alibaba's newest service, online savings accounts, launched under the name Yu'E Bao or "Leftover Treasure", has proved so popular that Beijing has put a break on its growth for fear it will undermine China's traditional banks.

    And Jack Ma is contemplating the potential of big data analytics.

    China is clearly still rife with possibilities.

    'Crocodile in the Yangtze'

    Porter Erisman worked at Alibaba during its first eight years, watching as it chased rival eBay out of China in 2006.

    Something Jack Ma said at the time convinced Mr Erisman that Ma would play the long game and not strike out immediately for US shores.

    "EBay may be a shark in the ocean but I am a crocodile in the Yangtze," Ma said. "If we fight in the ocean, we lose, but if we fight in the river, we win."

    But eventually he will want to set his sights back out to sea, says Mr Erisman, who has directed a film charting the firm's early years, called Crocodile in the Yangtze.

    "He has global ambitions. I think they know they can win the China market, but over the long term there are no bounds to the company's ambitions."
    Chinese 'ecosystem'

    "China is 10 years ahead in e-commerce," says Vincent Digonnet, chairman for the Asia-Pacific region at the digital marketing agency Razorfish. He thinks Western internet companies should brace themselves for a battle with a new style of e-commerce.

    "In the US when you look at the design of a site it's still very much a transactional site, there's not a lot of consumer-generated content or ability to feedback.

    "In China it's the opposite. It's an incredibly social place. It's a place where you discover brands, where you engage with people."

    Mr Digonnet believes Jack Ma's "internet ecosystem" will eventually dominate.

    "I don't think he needs cash in order to grow his position in China," he says.

    "I think he'll inject it into a company in the West. I think he's got his model in his head and I think he's going to replicate his model."

    Main street online

    Alibaba has already established a beachhead in the American market.

    This summer 11Main was launched. It is owned by Alibaba but is managed by Americans and feels like a local shopping experience.


    Alibaba's new website is an all-American affair

    Jack Ma has also invested in several US companies - ride-sharing service Lyft, sports merchandise site Fanatics, search engine Quixey, messaging app Tango, and mobile gaming company Kabam.

    Some see these forays into the US tech sector as Alibaba's first steps in a campaign to become a global online marketplace.

    Kung fu culture

    Perhaps the only doubts that linger are cultural: whether the company philosophy, incorporating handstands in the office and kung fu nicknames for staff, will stand Alibaba in good stead to take on the big corporations of the West.

    Jack Ma has fostered tremendous company loyalty: employees turn out en masse each Chinese New Year to watch executives perform pop songs, dressed in wigs and costumes at the annual Alifest.

    And the company hosts regular mass weddings of employees, all of which has earned it a reputation as being outlandish, even cultish.


    A penchant for dressing up and singing has earned Alibaba's executives a reputation for outlandishness

    But Vincent Digonnet says that behind the slightly crazy facade the company remains agile and ambitious.

    He says if he were a Western internet retailer he would now be feeling scared.

    "I think Amazon and eBay and all these people who tend to poo poo anything that doesn't come from their own market should be a bit less arrogant and a bit more worried."
    I keep dreaming that Jack Ma will someday subsidize Kung Fu Tai Chi. It would be a tiny drop in the Alibaba bucket.


    There are two embedded vids if you follow the link.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #10
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    Since Alibaba went public, Ma has been all over the U.S. news

    He's even made some of the comedy news reports.

    Alibaba's Jack Ma more popular online than movie star Jet Li
    By DOUG TSURUOKA
    Posted 09/24/2014 04:56 PM ET

    You may not be surprised to hear that Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) chairman and founder Jack Ma is China's richest man. But did you know he's also one of that country's top social media bloggers, with 15.8 million followers on Sina Weibo, the dominant microblogging website?

    Ma, who owns a stake in Sina Weibo, has more people checking out his blog posts than does China's cinematic superstar and investor Jet Li, who boasts only 13.4 million on the rival Tencent Weibo microblogging platform. But kung fu artist Li is No. 1 on Tencent Weibo.

    Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo are Chinese versions of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). Sina Weibo is run by Chinese online media giant Sina (NASDAQ:SINA).


    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Executive Chairman of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma speaks during the 'Valuing What Matters' panal discussion during the... View Enlarged Image

    Ma's social media ranking was included in a report by Shanghai-based magazine publisher Hurun Research Institute , which yesterday also anointed Ma as mainland China's richest man with an estimated worth of $25 billion. The Hurun China Rich List, which enjoys Forbes list status in China, says its reckoning of Ma's personal fortune is based on Ma's 6% stake in Alibaba Group and his 46% holding in AliPay, China's PayPal, following Alibaba's record-size IPO on the NYSE last week.

    While some show biz types in China can boast tens of millions more Weibo followers than Ma (Actress Yao Chen has over 70 million on Weibo), the support enjoyed by the top placers on the Hurun Rich list underscores the huge impact the mega rich are having on Chinese society.

    Oddly enough, Ma was only No. 2 on Sina Weibo's ranking of rich individuals with the largest social media followings in China. The top dog was real estate tycoon Pan Shiyi, who beat Ma with 17 million followers on Sina Weibo. Pan also has 9.3 million followers on Tencent Weibo, making him China's undisputed affluent social media king with 26.3 million total followers. Pan is the co-founder and executive chairman of Beijing-based Soho China, the nation's biggest prime office real-estate developer.

    Why does a Chinese real estate billionaire count more social media followers than Ma or Jet Li?

    Well, for one thing, youngish 50-year-old Pan is not only a successful businessman, he's also an opinion leader in China. He speaks frequently at global and regional economic confabs. Like Ma, Pan's amassed quite a following in China among up-and-coming entrepreneurs and wannabes. You could call him China's Donald Trump.

    Mercurial Ma is likewise quite an opinion shaper. He's quick to publicly share his thoughts on just about any subject from soccer and living in Hong Kong to saving the world's shark population from the ravages of shark-fin soup.

    Five of the top 10 in the Hurun Rich list for this year are in the information technology industry. In addition to Ma, Tencent chief Pony Ma Huateng is No. 5 with an estimated wealth of $18.1 billion. Search powerhouse Baidu's (NASDAQ:BIDU) Chairman and CEO Robin Li Yanhong and wife Melissa Ma Dongmin are sixth with $17.5 billion in personal wealth. Richard Liu, the CEO of e-commerce contender JD.com (NASDAQ:JD), is No. 9 with $8.8 billion. Smartphone maker Xiaomi Technology's chief Lei Jun is tenth with a fortune of $7.5 billion.
    Gene Ching
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  11. #11
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    Jack ma TIME magazine Person of the Year runner up

    Jack Ma might deserve his own thread someday soon. I'd put him on our cover too.



    Jack Ma, The Capitalist
    The Alibaba founder combined an entrepreneur’s ambition with political savvy in China to pull off the biggest Wall Street debut in history
    Dec. 8, 2014
    By Rana Foroohar

    When the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange rang out on Sept. 19, it marked the biggest IPO the world had ever seen — bigger than Facebook’s or General Motors’. This new Wall Street juggernaut, based 7,000 miles away in Hangzhou, China, is Alibaba. Its founder and chairman, 50-year-old Jack Ma, is now challenging some of the most powerful companies on the Internet, including Amazon, eBay and PayPal. And he is doing so by melding Western entrepreneurship with a canny—and sometimes controversial—sense of how to profit in the world’s most populous nation.

    As with so many Chinese enterprises, comprehending the enormity of Ma’s creation requires thinking on a different scale. Alibaba is used by more than a third of China—some 500 million people—making it easily one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. Those customers come to Alibaba to shop in the electronic malls it operates, where some 8.5 million merchants, large and small, ply their goods.

    Increasingly, Chinese pay for those goods—and conduct all kinds of other transactions—using Alipay, a PayPal-like service affiliated with Alibaba that is now one of China’s most important financial entities. In fiscal year 2014, Alibaba generated $8.5 billion in revenue, nearly half of it profit. And Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO made Ma one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

    But even those figures obscure the significance of Alibaba’s rise and the extent to which it has been propelled by Ma’s deft understanding of how to do business in his homeland. Since it began in 1999 by linking Chinese manufacturers with foreign and domestic buyers, Alibaba has played a crucial role in China’s digital opening to the West. Having previously worked in the Ministry of Trade, Ma was able to ensure support from the Communist Party government and take on bigger competitors in China’s private sector. His innovations were not just technical but also diplomatic and strategic.

    Like many Chinese, Ma comes from almost nothing: he is the son of traditional storytelling performers who taught himself English by tagging alongside tourists at a local hotel. Later he became a teacher and traveled to the U.S. Searching the World Wide Web for information on Chinese beer and coming up dry, he vowed to bring China online, at a time when only 1% of the population was on the web.

    A few years later, Ma started Alibaba in his apartment with 17 friends. His first employee was his wife, who now looks after the couple’s two children. Zhang Yin has claimed that she fell for Ma despite his unexceptional looks because he had the capacity to do things other men couldn’t. Friends have also been drawn to that ambition. “Jack had the biggest dreams of anyone I’ve ever known,” says Porter Erisman, an American adman who left his job at Ogilvy & Mather in Beijing to work for Ma early on. “You’d come up with a goal, and he’d immediately ask you to triple it.”

    A consummate spinner of corporate narrative, Ma is full of Shaolin-monk-style sound bites. “eBay is a shark in the ocean. We are a crocodile in the Yangtze,” he famously proclaimed. “If we fight in the ocean, we will lose. But if we fight in the river, we will win.” Ma claims to base his management technique on Chinese martial-arts teachings, encouraging employees to adopt nicknames from kung fu novels. (His own, Feng Qingyang, is a nod to an aggressive master swordsman.)

    Like the best martial artists, he is capable of turning weakness into strength. In the years before Alibaba went public, for instance, Ma leveraged his freedom from Wall Street pressure on quarterly earnings to keep his site free for a long time, building market share. Obliged to show shareholders progress on profit margins, eBay watched as Alibaba scooped up business.

    Ma became more enmeshed with Silicon Valley in 2005. That’s when Yahoo, run by founder Jerry Yang at the time, decided to buy a large stake in Alibaba for $1 billion. Yang, who first met Ma at the Trade Ministry, told Time that he remembered him as “highly curious about the Internet industry and obviously very entrepreneurially minded.” Yahoo wanted a piece of Alibaba because of its market position in China, but also because of Ma.


    The marriage fell apart, though, as Ma tangled with Yahoo’s new management. As Alibaba’s market share took off, it became clear that he’d given away too much of his company for far too little. “If he had waited even a year, Jack would have gotten a lot more,” says Gary Rieschel, a venture capitalist who ran the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank’s investments in Asia outside of Japan, including Alibaba, from 2000 to 2009. He eventually gathered together a group including local princeling investors close to the party elite to buy out half of Yahoo’s stake.

    Those relationships are a reminder that Ma couldn’t have produced his achievements without Beijing’s approval. His ties to the party apparatus are a key advantage over foreign rivals, which don’t compete on the same playing field in China’s closed Internet ecosystem. Alibaba operates not only in retail but also in heavily state-dominated and -protected areas like finance. (When Alibaba started offering money-market accounts, $90 billion poured in.)

    That’s good not only for Ma and Alibaba but also for the Communist Party. China has come under increasing criticism for its closed financial sector, which holds the private savings of citizens in state-owned banks at minuscule interest levels, then taps that money for state-run projects—many of which have floundered as China’s growth has slowed. Allowing someone like Ma to offer even a slightly better interest rate without real reform helps placate ordinary citizens in a nation where the ruling elite is mindful of the potential for social unrest.

    Yet Ma’s skill in co-opting government support has exacted a price, particularly as he seeks both capital and customers on a global stage. He came under media fire, for example, for a 2013 interview with the South China Morning Post in which he appeared to suggest that the government’s actions in the 1989 Tiananmen massacre were justified. Ma’s media representative says the reporting was incorrect and the journalist “misunderstood” his statement. Ma has also said he thought a controversial decision a decade ago by Yahoo to turn over personal information about a Chinese journalist to the Chinese government was justified because “local laws must be obeyed.”

    Those forays into seemingly authoritarian views—and a circumscribed approach to shareholder rights—set him apart from some of his counterparts in Silicon Valley. “The thing you have to remember about Jack Ma is that he is a proxy for a certain set of party interests. If the ruling cadres in Beijing didn’t want Alibaba to exist, it wouldn’t,” says Anne Stevenson-Yang, a co-founder of J Capital Research, an independent financial-research firm specializing in China.

    Apart from the issue of Alibaba’s independence from Beijing, a more fundamental question looms: Can Ma replicate his Chinese success elsewhere? While it’s unlikely that many Americans or Europeans will do their Christmas shopping on one of Alibaba’s websites anytime soon, Ma is almost certain to use some of his cash hoard to start acquiring Western media and entertainment properties.

    Alibaba will also try to grab the dominant market position in other emerging economies like Brazil, India and Russia. Back in China, Alibaba is planning to launch a Chinese version of Netflix and has announced expansions into consumer credit, insurance and mobile apps.

    That puts Hangzhou’s homegrown giant in competition with basically all the U.S. Internet heavyweights. Ma says he want to build not an empire but rather an ecosystem, which is less likely to be toppled. Either way, he isn’t looking to bide his time or hide his brilliance, as an old Deng Xiaoping proverb recommends.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
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    Jack on top

    With all of that bank, and being such a Kung Fu fan, I wonder if he's subscribed.

    Jack Ma Becomes Asia’s Richest Person on Alibaba Surge
    By Zijing Wu and Sterling Wong Dec 12, 2014 4:17 AM PT

    Jack Ma has become the richest person in Asia.

    The 50-year-old founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA), China’s biggest e-commerce company, passed Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong property and ports tycoon who has held the top spot in the region since April 5, 2012, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

    “I am nothing but happy when young people from China do well,” Li, 86, said by his spokeswoman in Hong Kong. A spokesman at Alibaba declined to comment on Ma’s net worth.

    Ma, a former English teacher who started the Hangzhou, China-based company in his apartment in 1999, has added $25 billion to his fortune this year, riding a 54 percent surge in the company’s shares since its September initial public offering. He has a $28.6 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg ranking. Li has a net worth of $28.3 billion.

    “The billionaires in China are growing their wealth faster because China’s economy is still developing, with plenty of room for growth,” said Francis Ying, an analyst at Yuanta Research. “Hong Kong is already a mature market.”

    Alibaba’s $259 billion market capitalization makes it larger than Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Inc. combined, and more valuable than all but eight companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.


    Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg
    Billionaire Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

    More than half of Ma’s wealth comes from his 6.3 percent stake of Alibaba, valued at $16.3 billion. He also controls almost half of the closely held finance unit and owner of Alipay, a service similar to PayPal.
    Public Offering

    Ma’s interest in the online-payment company is expected to dilute in the next three to five years with new investors or stock distribution to employees. Ma won’t realize any economic benefit from the dilution, Alibaba has said.

    Alibaba raised a record $25 billion in its Sept. 18 IPO, selling shares for $68 each. The American depositary receipts rose 1.05 percent to $104.97 at the close in New York.

    “If you look at the whole Chinese Internet space as a group, it’s definitely getting very significant,” said Tony Chu, a money manager for RS Investment, which oversees about $22.3 billion. Alibaba has become “a global stock which you cannot ignore,” he said.

    The fortune of Hong Kong’s Li, who controls Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. (1), one of the world’s three biggest property developers, has fallen $1.9 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg ranking. While shares of the real estate company gained this year, some of his other investments, including Husky Energy Inc., have dropped.

    Plastic Flowers

    The billionaire started with a plastic flower factory that he opened after World War II. He began investing in Hong Kong’s property market in 1967, after riots from China’s Cultural Revolution depressed prices and has expanded his investments to include real estate, ports and telecommunications.

    Li is nicknamed “Superman” by the local media for his investing prowess. He forecast in 2007 that China’s stock-market bubble would burst and predicted in 2009 the rally in Hong Kong home prices that would follow.

    Ma, who became China’s richest person in August, said being the wealthiest in the world’s second-largest economy “is a great pain” in a CNBC interview aired on Nov. 11.

    “I never thought I’d be and I don’t want to be,” he said.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Zijing Wu in Hong Kong at zwu17@bloomberg.net; Sterling Wong in Singapore at swong470@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Newcomb at pnewcomb2@bloomberg.net Robert LaFranco
    Gene Ching
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  13. #13
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    Slightly OT

    I feel this author missed the point. This is the point.

    Monday, 29 December 2014 14:40
    Wealthy Chinese pay thru their nose for KUNG-FU experts to be their bodyguards


    BEIJING - Increased security concerns among China's nouveau riche have created a niche market for protection services, attracting more martial-arts practitioners to become bodyguards.

    Seen close to Jack Ma - the Chinese mainland's richest man - at a series of recent events was a man of average build in his 30s and with brush-cut hair.

    Li Tianjin, Mr Ma's security assistant or personal bodyguard, stood out among the billionaire's entourage with his composed presence, watching every move made by his employer, the founder and chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

    Mr Li, a national martial-arts champion, is from Chenjiagou in Wen county, Henan province, the widely recognised birthplace of taiji.

    Wang Zhanjun, vice-chairman of the Henan Martial Arts Association, said Mr Li won his first national title at the Wen County International Tai Chi Tournament in 1998.

    He was loyal to friends and trained very hard every day, Mr Wang added.



    Mr Li's appointment highlights the growing demand from China's entrepreneurs and celebrities for well-trained bodyguards with martial-arts backgrounds, as well as training in etiquette and secretarial abilities.

    Shi Xingfeng, founder and chief executive of the Bojing Security Agency in Beijing, told China Daily on Friday: "Demand for protective specialists is soaring, with customers increasingly sensing the need to protect their lives and property against unknown risks.

    "Despite this market demand, the talent pool remains small," Mr Shi said.

    The Bojing Security Agency was founded by Mr Shi in 2009, and is one of the earliest commercial security-service providers approved by China's Public Security Department.

    The country has 358 billionaires, second only to the United States, and their ranks are expected to grow rapidly in the next decade.

    Mr Ma topped this year's Hurun Rich List with net assets of more than US$24 billion (S$32 billion).

    Boasting practical combat skills, martial artists like Mr Li need to develop many other skills - including hostage rescue, technical driving and outdoor survival - through intense physical and theoretical training, Mr Shi said.



    "Professional security assistants are not trained to knock people down for their employers like illegal hatchet men, but to master skills and knowledge to prevent threats from happening," he said.

    Despite the risky nature of the job, the salary has attracted an increasing number of martial artists to work for wealthy clients.

    Qin Xianggang, a former student of Mr Wang, earned at least 8,000 yuan a month five years ago, when he started work as a security assistant for a real-estate tycoon in Qingdao, Shandong province.

    "This was twice as much as a martial-arts coach was paid at that time. The salary for bodyguards has also increased a lot over the years," Mr Qin said.

    According to Mr Shi, the average salary for a professional security assistant has risen to about 400,000 yuan (S$85,000) a year, with specially trained bodyguards earning even more.


    - Asiaone

    I also feel Mr. Shi is grousing because he didn't get the job.

    I posted more on Li Tianjin here.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #14
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    Good follow-up, MightyB

    Honestly, I haven't been tracking this story. A U.S. rep from it did contact me and said he would follow up but never did.

    Maybe Jack is going to be a painter next.

    Jack Ma sells his first painting for a cool $5.4 million at auction



    In an art sale at Sotheby in Hong Kong on Sunday a painting by Alibaba Group founder and all-around Renaissance Man Jack Ma sold for the surprising sum of HK$42.2 million (US$5.4 million).

    Ma was helped along by veteran Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi. Together the two painted a blue, green and white piece of oil-on-canvas representing Earth entitled "Paradise." The artists coated and dotted the canvas with paint, before using palette knives to scrape the surface.

    "This is the first time I've painted, and to have been able to do it with Fanzhi -- I am deeply honored," Ma wrote in the auction catalog. "Together, we created an earth: to protect the earth, to protect the oceans, to protect the air, to protect water."



    The buyer was Chinese business tycoon and philanthropist Fenglei Qian. The original high estimate for the work was HK$2.5 million, but 30 bids later it was sold for nearly seventeen times that amount. The proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Paradise International Foundation, a charity dedicated to environmental conservation.

    This isn't Ma's first foray into philanthropy, he was ranked second in the 2015 Global Chinese Philanthropy list after only Li Ka-shing.

    After this first success, we'll see if Ma still holds on to his day job.

    Contact the author of this article or email tips@shanghaiist.com with further questions, comments or tips.
    By Alex Linder in News on Oct 6, 2015 6:45 PM
    Gene Ching
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Honestly, I haven't been tracking this story. A U.S. rep from it did contact me and said he would follow up but never did.

    Maybe Jack is going to be a painter next.
    "In an art sale at Sotheby in Hong Kong on Sunday a painting by Alibaba Group founder and all-around Renaissance Man Jack Ma sold for the surprising sum of HK$42.2 million (US$5.4 million)."

    Man...

    When it rains, it pours for some people.

    If you want to have a fascinating look into the craziness of the art world and see how a person like Jack Ma can fetch a cool $5.4 mill for not really doing anything, watch "Exit Through the Gift shop" on Netflix. It's sad, because there are some truly talented people who've dedicated their whole life to art (and create their own work) that can't even pay their rent by selling their work.

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