Chinese tycoon Jack Ma set for two-day Kenya visit next week

The founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, Jack Ma is set to visit Kenya in his capacity as UNCTAD special adviser on youth entrepreneurship. This will be his first trip to Africa.

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba. file photo | NMG

Jack Ma is the second richest person in China with a net worth of $28 billion according to Forbes. He is currently the executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a holding company that owns popular eCommerce websites like, Taobao, TMall and popular mobile web browser UCWeb.

UNCTAD Secretary, General Mukhisa Kituyi and Mr Ma will make presentations to 500 young business leaders at the University of Nairobi.

In his 3 day trip to Africa running from July 19 – 21st, Jack Ma will also visit Rwanda where he is the keynote speaker at Youth Connect Summit, also organized by UNCTAD in conjunction with UNDP and Government of Rwanda.

In previous occasions, Ma has frequently recognized women as the key to Alibaba’s success.  Addressing 2017 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in Hangzhou, Ma said women’s perseverance and attention to details will outperform men in the age of robotics and machine learning.

 “It is women who encouraged me to undergo the tough times in the past 18 years since the founding of Alibaba,” he said.

Ma said more than one-third of its founders were women, with a similar percentage taking senior management roles. Women are well-represented within Alibaba, with the ratio of female employees once nearing 50 percent, and is only slightly watered down after a wave of mergers and acquisitions of overseas assets.

Mr 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.

“We should not discipline the baby before even it is born,” Mr Ma told a gathering in Geneva during UNCTAD’s annual E-Commerce Week convention recently.


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