The richest man in China is unhappy.
Speaking to CNBC from his company’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma said he has not been happy recently, and he finds being his country’s richest man “a great pain.”
“This month I’m not very happy—I think too much pressure,” Ma said. “I try to make myself happy no, because I know that if I’m not happy my colleagues are not happy, and my shareholders are not happy, and my customers are not happy.”
He suggested that the company’s historic IPO—valued at a record-setting $25 billion—may have contributed to this stress.
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“Maybe the stock goes so up, maybe people have high expectations on you, maybe I think too much about the future and have too many things to worry about,” Ma said. “IPO is great because…I’m happy with the results, but honestly I think when people think too highly of you, you have the responsibility to calm down and be yourself.”
But the stress in his life is coming from more than just his job, Ma said.
In fact, becoming China’s richest man has provided its own set of headaches, he indicated.
“People say, ‘Well Jack rich people is good,’ yeah it is good, but not the richest man in China. It’s a great pain because when you’re richest person in the world everybody surrounding you for money,” he said. “today when I walk on the street people look at you in a different—I want people to see this is entrepreneur, this is a guy who is having fun of himself, and I want to be myself.”
In order to get rid of this “pain,” Ma suggested he is looking at ways to use his money to give back to society.
Any philanthropy will have to be efficient and effective, he said, because “spending money is much more difficult than making money.” Ma said he is looking at potentially establishing a foundation that can “spend money in a business way.”
Ma even suggested that he may be competing with the other global billionaires in this regard.
“The competition between me and Bill Gates probably: Who can spend money more effectively that can do better philanthropy,” he said.