“Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built” book by

The House That Jack Ma Built” book by Duncan Clark, describes the background of Alibaba’s CEO – Jack Ma
and his willingness and drive to open his own business in China. It was one of
the first Chinese ecommerce companies that provided consumer to consumer,
business to consumer and business to business sales services online. It also
provided electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric
cloud computing services. It was recognized as the world’s largest retailer as
of April 2016 surpassing Walmart, with operations in over 190 countries, as
well as one of the largest Internet companies. Some individuals say it is a
Chinese version of Amazon; however there are differences between these
companies that will be discussed later.   

The book is
divided into twelve (12) chapters that represent Jack Ma’s difficult background
and the rise of “Alibaba”. In the beginning, the author describes Jack’s early
life, his desire to learn English and his behavior of a warrior, who never
stopped believing in his goals despite any obstacles that life prepared for

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Jack Ma was born
in September 10, 1964 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. Jack started to
study English at a young age and practiced English daily with native
English-speakers at Hangzhou hotel. Ma used to cycle to hotel as a teenager
just to speak with foreigners and improve his English. Once he became fluent in
the language, Ma got his first job as an English teacher at the Hangzhou
Institute of Electronic Engineering at the age of twenty four (24). He
graduated from Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute (currently known as Hangzhou Normal
University) in 1988 with Bachelor’s degree in English language.

Jack Ma became a
famous motivational speaker due to the challenges he faced in his life. After
graduation from university, Ma applied for 30 different job positions and
unfortunately got rejected by all of them. He even applied to KFC when it came
to China. Twenty-four applicants applied for the position. Twenty-three were
accepted and he was the only guy who got rejected. In addition to that, he
applied ten (10) times for Harvard University but got rejected too.  

Jack Ma improved
his English through years of correspondence with the foreigners and became
fluent in it. His knowledge of the language became the reason of his first trip
to the U.S., where he discovered the Internet and was inspired to start a web
company back in his home country.

If we compare
Jack Ma with other talented people who achieved similar results as him, you
will be surprised how steep the difference will be among them. He was bad at
math, failed twice in high school, and got his first computer only at age of
thirty three (33). Jack’s route to becoming the billionaire founder of one of
the world’s largest technology companies came through English and he was the
first Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes magazine.