The richest man in China, Jack Ma, coming to Kenya. Read his remarkable story

He recently made headlines after his visit with US President Donald Trump and subsequent announcement of his assistance in creating 1 million jobs in the United States. He has inspired and empowered millions of people around the world especially with his incredible and true rags-to-riches story and now, Kenya will have the privilege of hosting the sensational Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma.

According to Forbes, Jack is worth an estimated $29 billion and this includes his 7.8% stake in the Alibaba Group — China’s answer to Amazon — and close to 50% stake in the payment-processing service, Alipay.

Although Alibaba and Jack Ma aren’t household names outside China, it’s worth noting that Alibaba is worth more than Facebook and processes goods more than eBay and Amazon combined!

What’s his story?

Ma Yun a.k.a. Jack Ma is among the rare breed of self-made billionaires with humble beginnings. Born in Hangzhou, south-east China, he was raised alongside his elder brother and younger sister at the rise of communist China and its isolation from the Western regions. His parents were poor and made a living as traditional Musicians-Storytellers. That income wasn’t adequate to have them even considered as middle class at the time.

Ma Yun a.k.a. Jack Ma is among the rare breed of self-made billionaires with humble beginnings. Photo / COURTESY

Rejections and failures

Without money or connections, the only way Ma could get ahead was through education. Jack Ma failed in his Primary School examinations twice! He failed thrice during his Middle School exams. When applying to universities after his High school, Jack failed the entrance exams twice, before finally joining University. He even applied and wrote to Harvard University ten times about being admitted – and got rejected each time.

He graduated in 1988 and started applying to as many jobs as he could.

Jack tried and failed to get a job at a several places after applying to them about 30 times in total! He once recollected at an interview, “When KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job. Twenty-three people were accepted. I was the only guy who wasn’t.”

He was also one of the 5 applicants for a job in Police force and he was the only rejected being told, “No, you’re no good.”

“When KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job.  Twenty-three people were accepted.  I was the only guy who wasn’t.” – Jack Ma

At one of his interviews, when Jack was asked about his past rejections, he stated “Well, I think we have to get used to it. We’re not that good.” Naturally, he learned to overcome the pain of rejection and how to treat rejection as an opportunity to get better every time.

Learning English

When former US president Richard Nixon visited Hangzhou in 1972, there was an increase of tourists in his home-town. It was like a tourist Mecca and Jack wanted to make the most of it. He always wanted to learn English. He spent his early mornings riding his bike to a nearby park and at the city hotel, he met visitors and gave them tours for free in exchange for English lessons.

Screenshot / Crocodile in the Yangtze

It was then he met a tourist who gave him the nickname ‘Jack’ because she found his name “difficult to spell”.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in English, he worked as a teacher at Hangzhou Dianzi University and earned just $12 a month!

Computers, the Internet and technology

Jack was captivated by the internet when he first used it during a trip to the US in 1995. He had just begun a translation business and he made the trip to help a Chinese firm recover some money. His first search online was “beer” and surprisingly, he found no Chinese beers in the results. It was then that he made a decision to found an internet company for China.

His first two ventures failed but four years later, he got together 17 friends in his apartment and convinced them to invest in his vision – an online marketplace he called “Alibaba.” This website allowed exporters to list products which customers could buy directly.

Screenshot / The Crocodile in the Yangtze

Initially, Alibaba hadn’t a single penny from outside investors but soon got attention and raised $20 Million from SoftBank – a Japanese telecom company that also invests in technology companies and another $5 Million from Goldman Sachs in 1999.

Building trust among the people of China that an online system of payment and package transfers is safe was the biggest challenge Jack Ma and Alibaba faced, a challenge that Jack will cherish for life.

Fast forward to 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba in exchange for close to 40% stake in the company. This massive for Alibaba — at the time it was trying to beat eBay in China — and it would turn out to be a big win for Yahoo as well, netting it $10 billion in Alibaba’s IPO alone.

At an interview, Ma told Bloomberg that he knew Alibaba had made it big when another customer offered to pay his restaurant bill.

“I’m your customer of Alibaba group, I made a lot of money and I know you don’t make any money,” said the customer. “I’ll pay the bill for you.”

The company’s $150-billion IPO was the largest offering for a US-listed company in the history of the New York Stock Exchange at the time. It also made Ma the richest man in China, with an estimated worth of $25 billion.

This made Ma an extremely wealthy man though he has made very few flashy purchases and he still maintains some pretty modest hobbies. “I don’t think he has changed much, he is still that old style,” Xiao-Ping Chen, a friend of Ma, told USA Today in an interview.

He likes reading and writing kung fu fiction, playing poker, meditating, and practising tai chi.

After the IPO, Alibaba employees threw a huge party at the company’s Hangzhou headquarters in celebration. Ma told employees at a press conference that he hoped they would use their newfound wealth to become “a batch of genuinely noble people, a batch of people who are able to help others, and who are kind and happy.”

Ma’s visit to Kenya

Ma’s visit to Kenya is scheduled for July 20 where in the morning hours, he will engage entrepreneurs at NaiLab who will have a fireside chat with Jack on “The role of small businesses in global trade”

In the afternoon, he will lead a delegation representing Chairmen and CEOs of leading companies in Asia. Industries represented will include: ecommerce, financial services, health, real estate, technology, and pharmaceuticals.

Ma’s visit to Kenya is scheduled for July 20 where in the morning hours, he will engage entrepreneurs at NaiLab who will have a fireside chat with Jack on “The role of small businesses in global trade”. Photo /COURTESY

The objective of this busiess-to-business session will be to introduce Chinese and African leading business players to cultivate mutual understanding and initial relationships.

It will also serve to present and discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing the future development of the economies in Africa and the special role that technology, education, entrepreneurship and young people can play.

Tips On How To Successfully Mix Business With Pleasure

When we do business with friends it’s often hard for most of us to separate the two and we end up either mixing it with pleasure or cutting ties.

Mixing the two is not hard if you set boundaries on what to do and how to do it. There have been many successful people who have managed to balance and have ventured successfully in both e.g  Pete and Sue Muraya who have built together a real estate empire.

By now you must be curious to know how this works, here’s how:

Maintain a professional persona – When we work closely with people, we naturally forge a bond. We may even be invited to their wedding or other significant celebration. While it’s important to be cordial, it’s also essential to note that in many cases a client liaison is distinctly different than a close friendship. You can still have a wonderful time but remember why you are there.

Honor your obligations – Always work as hard to keep the business of a “friend” as you would your best client. Don’t allow your personal relationship to be an excuse to slack on performance, put off a deadline, or move their project aside for something that comes up at the last minute. Think of how much more their compliment on a job well done will mean when you know you did the right thing. Business is a very separate entity from pleasure.

Don’t overshare – The closer we get to others, the easier it becomes to discuss topics that can harm a business relationship. Complaining about your “lazy boss,” or discussing the mixed signals of your office dress code can influence a client’s opinion of the company. Instead, focus on the many reasons you love what you do and the people you get to work with.

Remember the reason – We are all in business to earn a living. If you are particularly close, a friend might feel uncomfortable charging you for their services, but never assume a service will be free or discounted. Good friends understand the value of supporting each other’s business and are thrilled to be able to do so.

Respect personal time/space – When you become close with a client, it can be tempting to blur the lines between a friendly chat and shop talk. Don’t expect to call your friend to ask for professional advice at home or during their down time. Talk business only during regular office hours. If you need to discuss work, make an appointment.

Personalize their experience – If your company provides you with a small budget for business lunches or promotional items, keep your client’s likes in mind before extending an invitation or putting together a thank you.

Show restraint when calling in favors. Avoid asking for special treatment unless you are truly in a pinch, and understand that they may not be able to help you. Just because you are friendly with a baker doesn’t mean you can expect them to drop everything to bake six dozen cookies for your child’s fundraiser in two hours.

-Huffingtonpost

Businessman loses $14billion in 30minutes

How would you feel if you lost Sh 20,000 in  a day? I would probably cry and go into a depression because it is alot of money and my day would be totally ruined.

Well how would you feel if you lost $14 Billion? The Chairman of Hong Kong-listed Hanergy Thin Film Power, a maker of equipment for the solar power industry, lost $14 billion in 30 minutes.

Li had become one of China’s richest men on paper after shares in his company nearly tripled in the first four months of the year, with a market capitalization of $40 billion at one stage.

But the company’s shares fell over 42% in the last half-hour of trading in Hong Kong Wednesday, before being suspended by the local market regulator.

The boom in Hanergy’s shares has raised eyebrows. Transparency about the company’s business practices is limited by the fact that most of its sales go to a single company–its parent, the privately-held Hanergy Group.

That has fostered suspicions–denied by the company–that it may be overstating its financial strength.

The collapse appeared to be triggered by Li’s failure to attend the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

In one of the more memorable corporate quotes of recent times, The Financial Times reported a company spokesman as saying that Li “had something to do” instead.

-Fortune 

Merits of mixing business with pleasure

For many people it is taboo to mix business with pleasure as they believe that such is a recipe for disaster and a definite set up for failure. While it does sound logical not to mix the two, sometimes it can work to your advantage.

Are you thinking of doing business with your partner but are a bit apprehensive about it? Before you dismiss the idea, read these reasons why it could be beneficial to try.  You might also need to remember that Jay Z and Beyonce have businesses together.

Perspective – In life, you’re either the hammer or the anvil. You either strike out with force, or you learn to take it. But in business, you need to get comfortable with both. Eventually, this process will take a toll on you. You’ll be rejected and denied, and you’ll be doubted and dismissed. Promised things will fall through and you’ll worry about a lot of things that never crossed your mind before. It’s taxing.

This is when a relationship is so important. When you have a person you’re comfortable to share your wins, losses and doubts with, he or she can provide outside perspective and clear advice. You may be acting like an ass about something without realizing it (as you’re too wrapped up in the situation) and it is critical to have a partner who is willing to let you know and call you out on it.

Operations – The road to financial freedom isn’t paved, lit or policed. There will be bumps, dark spots and people who will seek to take advantage of you. Thus, it’s a road best traveled with a partner who has your best interests in mind. Some might disagree on this, but a significant other can be a huge help with all sorts of business tasks, especially if your partner’s strengths are your weaknesses.

You can focus on strategy, marketing and sales while your partner oversees operations, fulfillment, HR and customer service. If you’ve been through conflict before and made it out, there’s no one better equipped to travel the road with you. Why? Because eventually, things will get bad. It’s inevitable. What matters is how you recover from it.

If you can handle the ups and downs of a relationship, a business together can be just as lucrative.

Foundation – There’s no getting around this one. The largest structure in the world couldn’t stand for long with a weak foundation, and the same is true of you. The higher you go, the greater the fall and the more resources you’ll need to keep you going. The constant growth will wear away at you, and it will make you question yourself and your goals. At the end of the day, it will change you.

A strong partner will be the foundation that keeps you whole and ensures your change is a good one. It’s a part of human nature to seek out companionship. A reaffirmation that you (and all the work you’re putting in) matter even if it’s just from one other person it will make all the difference.

People who say they don’t need anyone else are just trying to save face or play the “ruthless” CEO role. Sure, you can try to do it alone, but you’ll only be measured against the material goals you’re striving for. Material things are all good and fine, but you can’t be measured as a complete human unless there is a sympathetic relationship somewhere in your life.

Remember: There’s no such thing as a “personal life” and a “professional life.” There’s just your life.

Credits: B. Roberts

Sorry ladies, popular NTV reporter is officially off the market

Dan Mwangi the young NTV business reporter is officially off the market. Dan recently proposed to his longtime girlfriend Wangeci Muthaiga and today he visited her parents home for the dowry payment which is ideally the traditional wedding.

Sorry ladies if you had your eyes on him. Check out photos of Dan selecting his wrapped up bride with his eyes closed from a group of ladies as it is custom in the traditional wedding ceremony.

 

dan dan2 dan3

 

The high-end prostitutes used to close business deals

The trial of former French presidential hopeful Dominique Strauss-Kahn and several businessmen on pimping charges has shone a light on the world of high-end prostitution in which sex is often used to sweeten business deals.

“I was considered a VIP and offered as a gift to the heads of companies and politicians,” said Carole, 41, a former prostitute who worked the champagne bars and brothels of Belgium, where the trade is legal, until 2013.

She spoke to AFP ahead of the high-profile trial in Lille in northern France of Strauss-Kahn, once head of the International Monetary Fund.

He is being tried from Monday along with 13 others for their alleged part in a wide-ranging prostitution ring used by local businessmen and police officials.

“Companies, sometimes big international ones, would come to see us to ask if a girl could be offered as a present,” she said.

She recalls a car company that wanted to sell three trucks to a local business: “I had to do whatever was necessary to make sure he signed,” she said.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, a lawyer for one of the defendants in this week’s trial, says “call-girls are 80 percent, maybe 70 percent of the time solicited” to conclude business deals.

The practice is particularly prevalent in professions where corruption and bribes are common, said Jean-Sebastien Mallet, an expert on the prostitution sector, highlighting “construction, import-export and the energy sector”.

“In some Arab countries, a businessman who doesn’t have a girl in his bedroom will refuse to sign a contract,” he said.

Sex can also be used to exert pressure. Carole said she was often sent as a “honeytrap” to seduce men in their hotels, creating the possibility of blackmail down the line.

The girls for these top-end clients tend to come from relatively comfortable backgrounds.

“They are clearly not poor young Romanians. Most work for networks of brothels or Internet escort companies,” said Yves Charpenel, head of anti-prostitution group Fondation Scelles.

“But even if the prices are higher, 75 percent goes to the traffickers.”

Monday’s trial is not the first high-profile trial for pimping. In 1995, renowned Italian designer Francesco Smalto was convicted after sending a number of suits to Gabon’s President Omar Bongo along with a group of call girls.

But getting prosecutions can be difficult, since it tends to rely on prostitutes coming forward as witnesses.

Gregoire Thery, from Mouvement du Nid, a support network for sex workers, says the girls giving evidence in this week’s trial have faced threats and pressure to back out.

He adds that the common practice of using prostitutes to conclude business deals has an added pernicious effect: creating another obstacle to gender equality in the workplace.

“When contracts are being concluded in a brothel or a hotel bedroom, it’s a job for the guys.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Ways to avoid letting money affect your relationships

One of the challenges that is experienced in a relationships is usually money, not necessarily the lack of but also the pursue and use of money may also create an issue.

Relationships will always have challenges and victory can be achieved only if matters are solved amicably, this includes financial challenges.

There are some golden rules that one should follow in order to maintain a cordial relationship not only with your partner, but also in business.

1. Avoid debt –  If you can avoid borrowing money by all means do so, this will not only help you avoid issues but will keep your relationships drama free. Use whatever you have unless and unless its really necessary, don’t borrow money.

2.Pay your debts – Simple rule but hard to follow for most people, once you borrow cash from someone ensure that you return on the agreed date. If you are unable to do so on time, communicate in advance and give an alternative date or mode of payment eg. instalment if you are unable to clear.

3. Humility – You may have a ego that you think will protect you, but it actually works in the opposite way. Learn to accept people without judgement, no one is beneath you in as much as you may have a better house ,education etc. Look at people the way you would want them to look and see you.

4. Be present – Giving your time and attention to people goes a long way in building relations. Even If you give expensive gifts, without a personal connection it feels empty. Time, attention, thoughtfulness, and interest in someone make  much more impact.

5. Spiritual self righteousness –  This habit  fools you into thinking you are better than others. Spiritual ego is what causes wars, holocausts, and prejudice and destroys relationships. It helps to remember that Spirit can hide in unique and clever costumes. Those you judge may well have the most to teach you. When someone talks about the virtues of Jesus or Buddha, they push others away.

When they behave with the virtues of Jesus or Buddha they draw people in. Similarly, when someone talks about the importance of making money, being in integrity and having clear communication they may intrigue others with these principles. But when someone demonstrate the value of an agreement, the ability to handle money responsibly and respectfully, and shows respect in their communication, they do far more to spread the message than talk ever will. Talking without the walking only creates distrust and disbelief.

 

 

 

Fire destroys property at Gikomba market

Several business people are counting losses after a fire burnt down their stalls on Wednesday night at Nairobi’s Gikomba market.

According to witnesses, the fire started at around 11:30pm burning several stalls in its path.

The fire gutted down a section of the market used by mechanics.

The  City fire brigade managed to put out the fire after about 2 hours.

No injuries were reported.

The traders are now asking the county government to help with installation of fire fighting equipment to help them in such cases in the future.

 

Diamond and Yemi Alade sign with MCSK

Bongo artiste Diamond and Nigeria’s Afro pop-R&B singer Yemi Alade, have signed-up with Kenya’s premier loyalty-collecting body, Music Copyright Society of Kenya.

The two joined the Kenyan body during their recent visit to Kenya as part of the African acts recording for the television music show Coke Studio season two, MCSK CEO Maurice Okoth said.

The two are well know African artistes whose songs get massive airplay in Kenya and are in use as call back tones for premium services offered by mobile phone service providers and other services.

See more at: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-192731/diamond-yemi-alade-grabbed-mcsk

CMA Acting Chief Executive Elected to IOSCO Board

Capital Market Authority (CMA) Kenya’s Acting Chief Executive, Paul Muthaura, has been elected to the prestigious Board of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). IOSCO is the premiere reference point for securities regulation and standard setting for the global capital markets regulatory community. This position has been re-emphasized through its proactive role in developing responses for the identification as well as mitigation of systemic and emerging risks across the financial sector globally through the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and G-20 process.

With his election to the Board, Muthaura will also take up a seat on the Growth and Emerging Markets Steering Committee (GEMC) which is charged with representing the interests of more than 75 percent of the membership of IOSCO covering the spectrum of the most developed emerging markets including the BRICS to frontier and nascent capital markets. The election was conducted during the GEMC meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 29, 2014 and attracted candidates from CNV Argentina, FSC Mauritius, CMB Turkey, CMA Kenya and CDVM Morocco. CMB Turkey was also elected to the IOSCO Board.

This position strengthens the voice of the more than 85 Latin American, European, African, Middle Eastern and Asian securities and derivatives regulators in informing IOSCO policy and regulatory formulation and it’s impact on developing capital markets. It is also a significant boost to Kenya’s aspiration for Nairobi to become an International Financial Centre.

His immediate priority is to add his voice to developing practical solutions at Board level to mitigate the unintended consequences of global regulatory reforms on emerging and frontier markets, to strengthen Africa’s voice in the Financial Stability Board and G-20 work-streams relating to capital markets issues, and to foster new approaches to capacity building through peer to peer programs by leveraging the expertise within the membership.

Mr. Muthaura stands out among the regulators in the growth and emerging markets for his role in spearheading the implementation of key reforms in the capital markets in Kenya, notably finalizing the demutualization and self listing of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), development of Kenya’s first 10 Year Capital Markets Master Plan, as well as the roll out of a regulatory framework of the Derivatives markets. The Kenyan capital markets is further at advanced stages of introducing new products such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts ( REITs).

For more information visit www.iosco.org

Mombasa county introduces more tax for motorists and KPA

Mombasa County has doubled parking fees in the proposed finance bill 2014/2015.

If the bill is enacted then the parking fee will be increased by 100 per cent from the current Sh50.

The county has proposed a Sh1,200 and Sh1,000 levy for tuk tuks, and boda bodas respectively. The finance bill also proposes levies for all cargo that passes through the port of Mombasa.

Toxic Colleagues: Nine Coworkers To Watch Out For

You can pick your friends, you can pick your job. But you can’t pick your colleagues any more than you can the next assignment to come down from upper management. It’s no surprise, then, that not every colleague is a good one.  “There’s a difference between working with friends and making friends with the people you work with,” says TODAY’s senior editor Julia Sommerfeld on workplace friendships. “Most people don’t get the choice, so you just have to make the best of it.”

The best way to avoid a toxic workplace friendship that could potentially derail your career? Learn to identify the tell-tale signs of the nine most poisonous personality types—and be sure to keep your (at least emotional) distance.

1) THE BIGMOUTH

Twenty-seven percent of us have had a friend who blabbed our secrets, and at work one slip can be the difference between respect and embarrassment—especially when it comes to the goings-on after the latest company happy hour. A too-talkative cubicle mate can be worse than a public Facebook Wall. Keep your personal details and at-work secrets close when you work with an overly social butterfly.

2) THE BAD INFLUENCE

The bad influencer is probably your most fun work friend, which could make her the most insidious. The happy hour organizing, long lunch taking, “one-more-cocktail” having good time pal. Problem is, those bad habits have rubbed off in 23% of survey respondents. So enjoy her company, but be wary of her leaving-early-coming-late attitude. And never stay till last call.

3) THE BETRAYER

The betrayer will sell you out to the first questioning supervisor who comes your way. Thirty-five percent of survey respondents said that they’ve been thrown under the bus by a friend, and at workplace this toxic pal is most easily spotted as the type who never takes the blame for her own mistakes. You don’t want to be her next scapegoat, do you? Be warned.

4) THE CHRONIC DOWNER

“A work buddy who is a chronic downer may actually be the most hazardous to your career—and your mental health,” says Sommerfeld of the 59% of survey respondents who say they know the type. Attitude can be contagious. Having a downer of a friend can take you down a path of negativity and the next thing you know, “you and your friend are having gripe-fests that drain your time and energy.” Worse, management could get wind of your bitch sessions and your reputation could suffer. Make a conscious effort to abstain from complaining with colleagues and workplace friends. If  your friendship with this Negative Nancy fizzles once you stop feeding the flames, better a lost friendship that a lost job.

5) THE CRITIC

Fifty-five percent of us have a high-horsed pal who is wont to judge our actions. But surprisingly, Sommerfeld says, very few survey respondents placed these critical pals in the workplace. “The judgemental friend phenomenon doesn’t seem to be what really raises hackles at work as much as personality,” she says.

6) THE FLAKE

You know the flake—your colleague who always needs to be rescued or calls in sick on the day of a big meeting without so much as sending you an email heads-up. “The flake can be a real time suck and leave you feeling bitter and taken advantage of,” says Sommerfeld. Avoid partnering with this hazardous homie at all costs. Or at the very least, enforce strict daily deadlines so you’re never left in the lurch. Better to be the productivity police than to be left unprepared on the morning of the biggest meeting of your career.

7) THE NARCISSIST

The most commonly cited toxic friend, narcissists are all about themselves. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents have endured an ego-maniacal pal, but for the wary worker, they’re easily spotted—and managed. “If you have a narcissistic friend,” says Sommerfeld, “enjoy her elaborate stories and know she’s probably not going to ask how you’re doing in return. Just don’t give her the chance to steal the credit for something [you’ve accomplished] at the office.”

8) THE RIVAL

The rival is a friend who’s way too competitive, which seems like the biggest workplace threat, but Sommerfeld stresses that there’s a simple “straightforwardness” to a super-competitive pal. “When you’re vying for the same promotion, you know where you stand. You probably aren’t going to leave yourself open with such a friend, especially at work.”

9) THE UNDERMINER

Forty-five percent of survey respondents have friends that serve up compliments with a side-dish of digging, and at work, this can be especially pervasive. “This is the friend who acts like he or she is on your side,” Sommerfeld warns, “but subverts you with backhanded compliments, especially in front of a boss or colleague.” As in: “You did a great job with that RFP, Kaitlyn, it was almost good enough that I’d want to take credit for it myself!”