China’s Richest Man, Alibaba Founder Jack Ma, Confirms $28B Could Not Buy Him Happiness

By @vitthernandez on
Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014.
IN PHOTO: Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is planning to invest US$200 million in Snapchat, a popular mobile application for sending photos that disappear later on. The investment would raise Snapchat’s valuation to $15 billion. IN PHOTO: Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014. Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
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Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 27, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

Alibaba founder and former school teacher Jack Ma is today's modern version of the poor little rich man. At 50, he became China's richest person after the Sept 19 initial public offering (IPO) of the e-commerce giant on New York Stock Exchange.

The IPO, which broke global records for the highest amount raised at $25 billion fresh capital, boosted Ma's value to $28 billion. On Tuesday, Alibaba again broke records by earning $9 billion via China's Singles Day online sale.

Read: 99 iPhone 6s Fail To Impress Chinese Woman Who Rejects Suitor's Proposal On Singles Day

However, while his bank account keeps on getting fatter, Ma's happiness meter continue to plummet, confirming the adage that money can't buy happiness - not even if you have $28 billion which Ma couldn't spend faster than he could earn it.

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"It is great pain because when you're [the] richest person in the world, everybody [is] surrounding you for money ... Today when I walk on the street, people look at you in a different [way]. I want to be myself," Ma told CNBC.

He also attributes the sadness he felt at the start of November to intense pressure on how the stock market would behave and on high expectations people have of him. But Ma says he tries to be happy because the negative feeling would be felt by his business partners, shareholders and customers.

Like other multibillionaires ahead of him such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Ma plans to follow their benevolent footsteps by paying it forward through the creation of philanthropic organisations that would help create a better world, likely centering on education and the environment.

He explained, "If you make a lot of money, you've got to spend it. You can't do this by buying 10 bars or 11 houses. You want to spend money in an effective way. You want to spend it in a business way that can really help people."

Ma said that with his new outlook toward wealth, he and Gates are now in a new challenge over who can spend money "the more effective way and do better philanthropy."

Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, would surely agree with Ma's new outlook that having too much money is bad for your emotional health, especially if you own adult children - like Rinehart's two eldest offspring - are suing you for their share of the company wealth.

Read: John Hancock & Bianca Rinehart File New Lawsuit vs SIblings Ginia & Hope

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