Jack Ma says more money means more pain

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Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, and actress Nicole Kidman attend a show during Alibaba's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival in Shanghai on November 10, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Aly Song

For those who aspire to be a billionaire, Jack Ma has some words of wisdom. Speaking on Wednesday at the fourth World Zhejiang Entrepreneurs Convention, the Alibaba Group chairman told the audience, “Making one or two million yuan a month will make people happy, but not making one or two billion yuan.

“It doesn’t make you feel good. The money is not yours because you cannot spend [it all]. And if you get it, you need to do something about it.”

For the record, Alibaba’s profit in the three months ended June 30 almost doubled from the same quarter in 2016 to US$2.2 billion, based on its quarterly results published in August.

It makes you wonder how much the man who runs China’s biggest online shopping portal really took home in the communist country. Does he have to give back some money to his political supporters?

However, this is not the first time the 53-year-old man Forbes has listed as the third-richest in China, with a paper worth of US$38.6 billion as of the end of November, has bemoaned the curse of being too rich.

The former English teacher said last year that China’s happiest people are those in the middle class who make 20,000 to 40,000 yuan per month and those whose net worth doesn’t exceed 10 million yuan.

According to Ma’s theory, people can enjoy their money if it does not exceed a million yuan. But once it hits 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million), they face all sorts of challenges, like where to invest the money — stocks, bonds or real estate. And they will suffer even more headaches if they have more than 20 million yuan.

Earlier this year he reiterated that he felt as if he owned nothing.

“I do not have time to spend money, and I do not think money is that important to me today,” Ma said. “Spending money is an art, especially to people like me; I do not know how to spend money.”

His contrarian view on money did not sit well with most people who are much poorer than Ma.

One typical response from a netizen: “Don’t bullshit! Although I make only 2,000 yuan a month, I should understand how rough it is to make 2 billion?”

A lot of people think they would be happy if they were as rich as Ma. But does Ma really feel happy?

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