Alibaba founder Jack Ma says being rich is 'a great pain'

China's richest man says he feels under 'too much pressure'

Antonia Molloy
Wednesday 12 November 2014 11:00 GMT
Jack Ma is worth an estimated $23.9bn (£15bn)
Jack Ma is worth an estimated $23.9bn (£15bn) (Getty)

He has an estimated fortune of $23.9bn (£15bn) – but Alibaba founder Jack Ma has said that being rich isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

China’s richest man, who created the internet giant from his flat 15 years ago, processed $9.3bn (£5.9bn) of sales during the country’s annual Singles Day yesterday.

It was just the latest in a series of triumphs for the so-called Chinese eBay, which has grown to become the world’s biggest e-commerce business, last year handling $248 billion in transactions - more than eBay and Amazon combined.

However, former school teacher Ma said that having huge amounts of money is actually “a pain.”

“This month I'm not very happy - I think too much pressure,” he told CNBC.

“Maybe I think too much about the future and have too many things to worry about.”

Following its record-breaking initial public offering in September, Alibaba is now valued at $240 billion.

But despite his achievements Ma, who is unable to walk down the street without being recognised, said that his wealth has a downside.

“People say, 'Well Jack, rich... is good',” he said.

“Yeah it is good, but not the richest man in China. It's a great pain because when you're [the] richest person in the world, everybody [is] surrounding you for money.“

The entrepreneur said he is looking at ways to put his earnings to good use and is considering setting up a foundation to “spend money in a business way”.

But he conceded that he would be going up against Bill Gates to see “who can spend money more effectively”.

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