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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New music is being dropped almost every other day by various artists in the county. The music industry has grown and from the look of things artistes are investing in their music if the quality of the videos is anything to go by.
Nonini dropped his new video for the song Wanajishuku featuring Pierra and Chege from TMK; Gabu, Kritoff and Jalang’o dropped their video for the song Dirunk and Songstress Cece Sagini dropped her song -I’m a doer featuring Octopizzo.
After the recent conflicting stories regarding Bobbi Kristina Brown, who remains in an Atlanta area hospital, a renowned doctor spoke out about her condition. While her father recently said she was awake, families members on the Houston side said that her condition has not changed. It seems that both sides of the family may have been correct.
Neuro-critical care specialist Dr. Subhashini Ramesh an assistant professor of neurology at Augusta’s Georgia Regents University, explained what the reality star is up against, at least medically.
According to Cissy Houston, Bobbi’s maternal grandmother, the reality star has sustained “global and irreversible brain damage.” Although most people understand that this condition is detrimental, Dr. Ramesh explains the injury in more detail, stating that although Bobbi may be awake, as indicated by her father, it doesn’t mean that she is aware of her surroundings.
While Bobbi Kristina may be able to open her eyes, global brain damage suggests that her motor movement is gone, meaning she can’t move her eyes, use her voice, or use her muscles. Dr. Ramish, says once a patient has brain damage that cannot be reversed, the chances of a substantial recovery are extremely slim.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Bobbi Kristina will not make it. It does mean, however, that she will more than likely never be the same person as she once was. Dr. Ramish explains that artificial life support has saved lives that otherwise wouldn’t have been saved only 30 years ago. Yet, there is no medicine that can undo irreversible brain damage.
Whereas Cissy Houston indicated that Bobbi was no longer in a “medically-induced coma,” it doesn’t mean that she’s emerged and is and is recovering. Removal from a medically-induced coma simply means that she was taken off sedative medication.
Mel B will not be part of the judge’s bench at The X Factor this year as she has been axed from the judging panel by Simon Cowell.
Despite being widely praised for her no nonsense attitude and comments on the show, bosses have now decided Spice Girl Mel will be replaced as they try to remodel the singing talent show.
A show source said that it’s highly unlikely that she will be back on the show. At the moment she is doing America’s Got Talent at the moment so she hasn’t completely fallen out with Simon, but he wants to freshen up X Factor by changing the judging panel.
The insider also said they expected Cheryl Cole to keep her place on the show alongside Cowell, although Louis Walsh was also unlikely to return.
Show bosses are currently on the hunt for a new, younger male judge to replace Louis, who has appeared in all 11 series so far.
Asked about Mel B, a spokesman for The X Factor said: “No final decisions have been taken on the judging panel.”
Mel B’s axing follows a shake up on the presenting side of the show at the end of March.
It has also been rumoured that Simon Cowell is approaching Rita Ora who is currently a judge on the show “The Voice”
Nollywood actor actor Desmond Elliot is filled with so much joy at the moment following his victory at the recently held House of Assembly election.
The actor turned politician emerged winner of the Lagos state House of Assembly election and would proceed to the State Assembly where he’ll be representing Surulere Constituency 1.
“Today marks a new phase in my life as I have officially launched my journey into the Nigerian Politics, firstly I would love to thank the people of Surulere for truly believing in me and my dreams to bringing out new energy and new enthusiasm to our place, today I reaffirm all my promises to you, we have attained victory together and together we shall also attain The Change We Desire. I also want to extend my profound gratitude to everyone who has supported me in this cause, my friends, fans and well-wishers. May God bless you all!”.
Kenyan dance hall artiste, Jerry Kamau aka Skeleton Man, hoped that he would be among the prominent figures to accompany President Uhuru Kenyatta to the Hague on Tuesday, but missed the party by a whisker.
The singer – who recently released a single defending Uhuru from the accusations facing him at the Hague-based International Criminal Court – had been among the few individuals whose spot to travel with the ICC contingent had been reserved by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko.
“The travel arrangements were so urgent and I realised I didn’t have enough time to renew my passport. The Star Newspaper quotes him, “I have not traveled out of the country for some time now and it didn’t occur to me that I would have needed the document that soon. However, as expressed in my song, I maintain the stand that President Uhuru is innocent and the ICC should just drop the charges.”
Skeleton, a close ally of Sonko, says that the song dubbed Uhuru Innocent has made an international appeal and that Uhuru’s latest appearance at the Hague has just elevated its popularity.
“Because of this song, I have been interviewed by international media. Most recently by an Italian radio station. Nevertheless, Uhuru hasn’t made any personal contact with me regarding the track, but I expect to meet him at some point when he comes back,” he says.
Judith Nyambura commonly known as ‘Avril’ was very lucky after she escaped a police arrest after her impersonator engaged in a series of criminal activity using the singer’s documents.
The ‘Kitu Kimoja’ songstress confirmed that she had been summoned police where she was forced to make a statement, regarding the matter.
“Today was a sad day for me…well sad but also filled with relief. I was called to make a statement at a police station because after months of investigation, a young man who has been using my name to illegally attain a variety of favors from people from all walks of life here in Kenya, had been caught.” she posted on facebook.
Aretha Franklin says her new album brings out an excitement she hasn’t felt since 1982 and the music feels as good as Marvin Gaye’s seminal “What’s Going On?” album.
“Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics” includes covers of songs including “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Rolling in the Deep.” It was released Tuesday on vinyl but will be available digitally and in stores on Oct. 21.
Franklin said there’s “a lot of electricity” around her latest CD.
“I haven’t felt so up on a CD since ‘Jump to It’ (was released in 1982) or the first time one of my records was played on the radio,” she said in an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think I have ever been as excited as I am now.”
The Queen of Soul, who sat next to longtime collaborator and album producer Clive Davis, held a listening for the album at the 92nd Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center.
The album also includes Franklin’s interpretations of classics such as “At Last,” ”I Will Survive” and Barbra Streisand’s “People.”
“I like all of it. I like the whole CD, from cut to cut to cut. It kind of reminds me of, I said, ‘You know, this is kind of similar to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”'” she said before the event. “You know the kind of records from cut to cut; I don’t care what comes up (but) you like it. You like it! I think it may be that kind of album.”
Davis came up with the concept and songs, which Franklin said she immediately took to. Franklin performed the Adele hit on “Late Night with David Letterman” on Monday. Franklin’s version, which infuses some of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” has more than 1.4 million views on its official YouTube post.