Alibaba accounts for a sizable portion of Ma’s fortune. He used to have the largest controlling interest in the company and its subsidiaries, but he has been gradually selling his shares. He sold another $8.2 billion in shares in July 2020, leaving him with a 4.8% stake in the company.
The company’s origins can be traced back to 1995, when Ma and his wife founded China Yellow Pages, a website creation company. Ma co-founded Alibaba with 17 friends in Hangzhou less than five years later.
Alibaba now owns or has a significant stake in a movie studio, venture capital funds, Yahoo! China, healthcare technology makers, Internet messaging and voice apps, supply chain management companies, taxi-hailing app services, video streaming sites, social media apps, and online clothing retailers.
Ma is also a prolific investor who is not afraid to fund ventures at all stages, from seed funding to established company. Many of his investments have been made through Yunfeng Capital or other shell companies.