"Jack Ma and I will remain friends forever," says Masayoshi Son as Alibaba founder leaves SoftBank board

Masayoshi Son and Jack MaTokyo Forum 2019 video screengrab
  • Jack Ma, Alibaba founder, today announced his departure from SoftBank board.
  • A visibly sad Masayoshi Son, chairman of SoftBank said Ma and him will remain friends for the rest of their lives.
  • Son had invested $20 million in Alibaba in 2000 and has been one of the most influential people behind Alibaba’s growth.
There was something more disappointing for Masayoshi Son than Softbank’s nearly $9 billion loss and a net of 6% loss since inception on his much-glorified Vision Fund-1⁠— it was the exit of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, from the Board of Directors at SoftBank.

“Stepping down the SoftBank board, Ma said to me was something that he decided on his own. That's sad but we will still keep in touch. Right before Covid19 we met face to face every month to have dinner, talk business and we will remain friends for the rest of our lives,” said Son.

The SoftBank founder also spoke about Ma stepping down from the CEO position of Alibaba and said that he has not been on the frontline of their own business. In September 2019, on his 55th birthday Ma had resigned from Alibaba CEO post.

Ma has left the board after SoftBank after 13 years.

Son “discovered” the Chinese billionaire Ma

Son had invested $20 million in Alibaba in 2000 and has been one of the most influential people behind Alibaba’s growth. Son had said that he invested in Alibaba after speaking to him for five minutes, when Alibaba had zero revenue. "I saw charisma in his eyes," Son later said about the investment.


Today, Alibaba’s market value is a whopping $570 billion and currently accounts for 65% of SoftBank’s shareholder value

Son, who is famous for spotting the biggest of tech investments, might have had a few failures recently with Uber and WeWork, but Alibaba continues to be the crown jewel in his portfolio.

"I always say that dogs and wolves look alike, but dogs can tell a wolf. I can smell (Mr Ma) - we are the same animal, we are both a little crazy," Son had once famously said.

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