Talking about Jack Ma and Alibaba, the media and journalists always mentioned three people, Zhang Ying, Jin Yong and Yang Zhiyuan. Let’s see their relationship with Jack.
Zhang Ying is the better-half of Jack Ma. They met each other while they were studying at Hangzhou Normal University and married shortly after graduating in the late 1980s. At that time the couple began their careers as teachers.
Zhang Ying was also Jack’s business partner when he founded Alibaba with 17 other people in 1999. She had been the person to take all the complicated tasks of an assistant, supporting Jack and the team to help launch Alibaba, and later became the general manager of the China division when Alibaba started successfully. In 2004 Ying decided to give up her position in Alibaba to concentrate on backing Jack and looking after their son and daughter.
From Jack’s comments about his wife we can find out how much Zhang Ying had done for Alibaba, like “In those years, Zhang Ying spent all her time on Alibaba, without a personal life, without even seeing her friends…”
Jin Yong (Louis Cha), who is Jack Ma’s idol, is the most famous Wuxia novel author; his novels were best sellers in the Chinese literature history in the mid-20th century. Jack loves Jin Yong’s Wuxia novels about the martial arts and chivalry, which influenced his and Alibaba’s core values too.
In the first West Lake Discussions Jack invited Jin Yong to be the talk show host, which turned out to be very successful.
Jack’s most favourite Wuxia novel is The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, in which he admires the character, Feng Qingyang, most. In the Chinese CCTV talk show, Jack said that he particularly appreciated Feng Qingyang’s ability to solve the problems unconventionally, and that he taught his student Ling Hu Chong to be a great wanderer. Wwhile he himself was a teacher before, he always wanted his students and colleagues to surpass him and be successful in their own life too.
The third important person to Jack is his friend and ally, Yang Zhiyuan (Jerry Yang), the co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo! Inc..
Jack and Jerry knew each other in 1997, when Jack was working for CIECC. Jack was invited to join Yahoo after leaving CIECC, but he refused. Two years later, Alibaba was founded.
In 2005, Alibaba’s investor Sun Zhengyi (Masayoshi Son, the Cyber Mogul) invited Jack to join the entrepreneur party between Chinese and American high-tech corporations held in the Pebble Beach Golf Course. In the golf course, Jack and Jerry met again, and made the famous 10-minutes Pebble Beach Talk, which led $1 billion investment into Alibaba from Yahoo.
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