Alibaba founder Jack Ma was rejected from 30 jobs, including KFC, before becoming the richest man in China


jack ma

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014.

Jack Ma is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.


His e-commerce company, Alibaba, attracts 100 million shoppers a day. Ma is worth an estimate $20.4 billion.

But before he was the richest person in China, Ma went through a lot of rejection.

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, the businessman reveals that he failed a college entrance exam three times.

Once he ruled out college, Ma applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected.


"I went for a job with the police; they said, 'you're no good,'" Ma tells Rose. "I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy..."

When Ma founded Alibaba in 1998, he was met with more obstacles.

The brand didn't turn a profit for the first three years, and Ma had to get creative. One of the company's main challenges was that it had no way to do payments and no banks would work with him.

Ma decided to start his own payment program called Alipay. The program transfers payments of different currencies between international buyers and sellers.

"So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, 'this is the stupidest idea you've ever had,'" he said. "I didn't care if it was stupid as long as people could use it."


Today, 800 million people use Alipay.

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