Caixin: Jack Ma Mania

Societies admire their greatest innovators who emerge after a series of failures. The Chinese revere Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce site Alibaba, for both his charisma and billionaire status. Despite early failures – including many school exams, an application as Kentucky Fried Chicken manager and inability early on to secure venture capital – he did not give up. “The fandom surrounding Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma has reached spectacular levels,” report Noelle Mateer and Charlotte Yang for Caixin, describing shrines honoring the entrepreneur, some comic and others serious. “Jack Ma is today’s god of money, and the idolatry surrounding him isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.” Researchers interviewed by Mateer and Yang explain how modern idol worship extends beyond religion as individuals select celebrities, business people or political leaders for role models. Plenty of Jack Ma memorabilia is available on Alibaba, and the zeal and commercialism draw criticism about excess and superstition. – YaleGlobal

Caixin: Jack Ma Mania

Societies embrace tales about individuals who innovate, enduring many failures before finding great success – a popular role model in China is Jack Ma
Noelle Mateer and Charlotte Yang
Sunday, November 18, 2018

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