Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group is set to visit East Africa next week.
Ma, currently ranked as Asia’s riches man with a fortune valued to amount to nearly $30 billion will visit Kenya and Rwanda to share entrepreneurial insights with the region’s youth.
The 52-year-old will make the trip in his capacity as special advisor for youth entrepreneurship and small businesses to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
During his visit to Nairobi, Ma will be joined by UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi at The University of Nairobi, where the two will make presentations to 500 young business leaders.
“UNCTAD will work with Mr Ma to explore opportunities with local businesses to participate in global trade,” UNCTAD said in a brief ahead of the visit.
Ma is well known for his struggles before getting the money and fame.
In interviews in the past, Ma described how he got rejection from various agencies in China whenever he went to seek a job.
In the interviews, he opened up about applying for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all.
“I went for a job with the police; they said, ‘you’re no good,'” Ma told interviewer Charlie Rose. “I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy who was rejected.”
In addition to his job struggles, he applied 10 times for Harvard and got rejected.
It was until 1995 when he had gone to the United States that he realized about the potential of the internet, a new concept back then.
In the period since then, Ma has seen tremendous growth in his venture, rising to become Asia’s richest man and the 14th richest in the world.
Using his influence, Ma has been urging developing countries to look to e-commerce to bolster their economies, instead of creating regulations and taxes that could kill the emerging sector in its infancy.