China's New Internet King: Alibaba CEO Jack Ma
Fons Tuinstra from the China Herald points me at this article from the International Herald Tribune: The improbable saga of Ma, China's new Internet king
"Yahoo's huge deal with him Thursday has turned his company, Alibaba.com, into the biggest Internet operation in China, where Internet use is growing at an explosive pace."
"Jack Ma is only 40, and he started out teaching English. But he is now called the "grandfather of the Internet in China," even though he claims not to know much more about computers than how to send and receive e-mail."
"His move into the online world was not just accidental; it was, by his telling, bizarre. "It's a Hollywood story why I went into the Internet," he said.
In 1995, he said, he traveled to the United States to help a Chinese company recover money owed by a joint-venture partner, an American businessman. Ma said he went to the businessman's Malibu mansion, only to discover that he had no intention of repaying his debts.
The man displayed a gun, Ma said, and then locked him in the house for two days. Ma recalled talking his way out of the situation by agreeing to become the man's Chinese partner. He promised to start an Internet company in China, even though he had no idea how the Internet worked.
"It was a terrible experience," he said. "Every time I think of L.A., I have a nightmare. And today, my luggage is still in Malibu." He has had no further contact."
Yahoo! Positioned to be one of the Major Internet Entities in China
Fact Sheet on the Alibaba-Yahoo deal