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Jack Ma And His New Sideline

Updated: Mar 19

The following is an article “Jack Ma And His New Sideline” by Marc Primo.


To some, Chinese business magnate, philanthropist, and billionaire Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma is a shining beacon of success who has it all. A self-made man who virtually single-handedly built the multinational tech conglomerate, Ma is often cited in business publications as one of the world’s richest and powerful men. What more could he possibly want?

Lights, camera, action!


In a raw show of dedication and ambition, one of Ma’s most notable ventures did not involve any business acquisitions or takeovers in the world of suits where he is, without a doubt, one of the world’s MVPs. Far from it, Ma deduced that it was not too late in the game to pursue a long time passion of his and showcase his acting chops in a martial arts short film entitled Gong Shou Dao, or The Art of Attack and Defense.


A preview of the 20-minute feature was screened at the Tmall Double 11 Night Carnival, an annual TV gala sponsored by the e-Commerce behemoth that Ma himself co-founded, where he concurrently sits as executive chairman. In his latest role, Ma appears beside fellow countryman and Hollywood action star Jet Li, helmed by promising television actor-turned-director Wen Zhang.


Art imitates life


If, in real life, Ma is a head honcho who calls all the shots, in reel life he finds himself taking orders from a director. But that’s where the difference between “Ma the business magnate” and “Ma the budding actor” ends. The plot of Gong Shou Dao is simple: while walking along an avenue one day, Master Ma makes an odd observation behind the foliage. As though detaching himself from reality, he shuts his eyes and what ensues is a series of intense duels between Master Ma and a motley crew of martial artists each with varying skills.


Whether or not such a plot was the producer’s (Jet Li) idea of a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for Jack Ma’s storied life, using martial arts duels against different adversaries as a creative way to illustrate the challenges he has faced in life and the hurdles that come with it, Ma’s seemingly whimsical attempt at starring in motion pictures, regardless of its relatively short running time, has a much deeper message.


High hopes and wishful dreams


If you ask me, my key takeaway from the film is to step outside your comfort zone once in a while, embrace new opportunities and try new things, and most importantly, make your dream a reality.

In other words, live life to the fullest, because as Jack Ma has shown us, having all the money in the world does not equate to complete fulfilment. Life is full of unexpected sucker punches and roundhouse kicks, so props to Mr. Ma for conclusively proving to us that a healthy balance of work and play does not make Jack a dull boy.

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