CEO, Alibaba Group
Like many entrepreneurs, Ma's success story started with borrowed capital and a dream. In 1999, Ma, a former English teacher, invited 18 people over to his home, pitched the idea of a business-to-business e-commerce site, and snagged $60,000 in funding. Today Alibaba's multitiered empire, which includes e-commerce, consumer retail, and payment platforms and ownership of China Yahoo, now plays a major role in China's booming economy. (The B2B site alone reported $179 million in revenue last quarter, up 49% from the year before.) By launching a $30 million marketing campaign late last year promoting its English-language site and recently acquiring Vendio Services, an e-commerce service company in the U.S., Ma is clearly positioning Alibaba as a future global force. --J.P.M.
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Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET