Business News Society, 10/11/2019

Alibaba Group Co-Founder Speaks to Kharkiv Students

On November 7, the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group and one of the wealthiest men in the world, Jack Ma met with students of the Karazin Kharkiv National University as part of his first visit to Ukraine.

During his meeting with students, Jack Ma was impressed by how many people came to listen to him as there were no spare available seats in the university’s auditorium. All the comers were impressed with how simply he was dressed just wearing a grey jumper, sports trousers and trainers. In the same way, he communicated with young people.

The businessman highlighted that the most important lesson in his life is to never give up. “I was rejected all the time when I tried to get a job. And then I made a decision that I had to start doing something for myself,” Jack Ma recalled.

“Many people think that they can succeed overnight like in movies, but it is not true. Success means being optimistic, never complain, being creative and innovative. There are no experts from the future. There are only experts from the past,” the businessman added.

Answering the question about what happiness is for him, the billionaire believes it isn’t about money. “Happiness isn’t money, happiness isn’t power. It’s when people who are around you are happy,” Jack Ma shared with the students.

Also, he noted that now people should not work as much as they used to do in the past. For example, Mr. Ma’s father worked 18 hours a day seven days a week while nowadays people work nine hours five days a week.

This year, the businessman resigned as chairman of the board of directors of Alibaba Group and retired. He says that he acted this way to give youth a chance to realize themselves. Now, it lets him travel and devotes his time to communicating with youth, in particular with students.

On October 8, Ma spoke at the Kyiv International Economic Forum. Talking about Ukraine, he expressed his appreciation for Ukrainian talents and advised how to deepen the country’s relationship with China.

The businessman confessed he has admired Ukraine for a long time and called Ukrainians “the nation with such a colorful history.” He is going to invite his business friends to come to Ukraine as it has huge potential.  “And I am not speaking as a politician, I am speaking as a businessman,” he added.

Reference: Jack Ma whose real name is Ma Yun was born in 1964. He is the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. In September 2018, he announced that he would retire from Alibaba and pursue educational work.

As of February 2019, he is China’s richest man, with a net worth of $41.1 billion, as well as one of the wealthiest people in the world and also was ranked 21st in the world by Forbes Magazine’ World’s Most Powerful People.

Text: Natalia Ivanova

Photo: Victoria Yakymenko,