1. Jack Ma: Early Life and Education
  2. Jack Ma: Success Story
  3. Jack Ma: Most Influential Quotes

Jack Ma's speeches are rich with quotable comments and advice. Some of his notable quotes, most of which are found on YouTube, are listed below.

When Ma reflected on his team's credo when they challenged eBay Inc. in the early years of his business, it was: "We will make it because we are young and we never ever give up!"

On his relationship with Alibaba Group’s stakeholders, Ma stressed the following fundamental belief: “Put the customers first, the employees second, and the shareholders third.”

In regards to this generation’s responsibility to grow,  Jack Ma said, “If Alibaba doesn’t get bigger and more successful than Walmart or Microsoft, I will regret it for the rest of my life. Our predecessors invested in us, it is therefore our (this generation’s) responsibilities to do better than them.”

Ma criticized companies that rely on government’s subsidies: “If the company always thinks of picking money out from the government’s pocket, that company is rubbish!  It should think about how to make money from customers and the market, and to help customers succeed."

Ma questioned the current business school model with the following: “The business schools teach a lot of skills about how to make money and how to run a business.  But I want to tell people that if you want to run a business, you have to run the value first, to serve the others, to help the others – that’s the key.”

"Crazy" Jack 

Ma responded to being called “Crazy Jack” by Time magazine in the early 2000’s, saying, “I think crazy is good! We are crazy but not stupid! If everyone agrees with me and if everybody believes in our idea is good – we will have no chance.”

Ma said about taking action and risk: “If you don’t do it, nothing is possible. If you do it, at least, you have the hope that there's a chance.”

Ma talked about the value of meditation: “I use Thai Chi philosophy in business: Calm down, There’s always a way out and keep yourself balanced, and meanwhile, don’t try to kill your competitors.”

Ma asserted the idea and value of empowering people: “In this world, if you want to win in the 21st century, you have to be making sure that making other people become powerful, empower others; making sure the other people are better than you are, then you will be successful.”

Ma addressed what money means to him as a wealthy person: “I believe when you have $1 million, that’s your money – when you have $20 million, you start to have a problem. When you have $1 billion, that’s not your money, that’s the trust society gave you. They believe you can manage the money better than the government and others.”

Ma said the following about the value of taking personal responsibility: “I find that when a person makes a mistake or fails, if he or she always complains or blames others, that person will never come back from the failure. But if the person checks inside, this person has hope.”

On his views about working with governments, Ma said, "My relationship with the government is: Be in love with the governments, but do not marry them.”

Ma noted on competition, “If eBay are the Sharks in the Ocean – We (Alibaba) are the Crocodiles in the Yangtze River.  Never fight in the Ocean, let’s fight in the Yangtze River.”

Ma commented on Alibaba’s celebrated journey to success: “Today, people write about the successful stories of Alibaba. And I really don’t think we were so smart, we made so many mistakes and we were so stupid at times. So, someday, the book I personally really will want to write about is Alibaba’s 1001 mistakes.  These are the things people should remember and people should learn.”

Ma responded to criticism that China is a difficult place to launch a business: “Going anywhere, doing business, takes time. No market welcomes gamblers – You go there, create value for local people, have time – it will have chance.”

In response to Alipay being called “stupid” by banks and others, Ma said: “A stupid thing – if you improve it every day, it is going to be very smart.”

In regard to perseverance, Ma said, "Never give up! Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine. If you give up tomorrow, you will never see the sunshine."


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