ALIBABA GROUP WAS FOUNDED IN 1999 BY 18 PEOPLE LED BY JACK MA, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, China. Our founders started our company to champion small businesses, in the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling small enterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies. ALIBABA GROUP’S MISSION IS TO MAKE IT EASY TO DO BUSINESS ANYWHERE. Enable businesses to transform the way they market, sell, operate and improve their efficiencies. Alibaba provide the technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands and other businesses to leverage the power of new technology to engage with their users and customers and operate in a more efficient way. Alibaba's businesses are comprised of core commerce, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, and innovation initiatives. In addition, Ant Financial, a company in which Alibaba have agreed to acquire a 33% equity stake, provides payment and financial services to consumers and merchants on our platforms. An ecosystem has developed around Alibaba platforms and businesses that consists of consumers, merchants, brands, retailers, other businesses, third-party service providers and strategic alliance partners.
Jack Ma is our lead founder and, since May 2013, has served as our executive chairman. From our founding in 1999 until May 2013, Jack served as our chairman and chief executive officer. He is also the founder of the Zhejiang-based Jack Ma Foundation. Jack currently serves on the board of SoftBank Group Corp., one of our major shareholders and a Japanese corporation listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He is also a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, chairman of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce, as well as chairman of the China Entrepreneur Club. In January 2016, he was named a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocate by the United Nations. Jack graduated from Hangzhou Teacher's Institute with a major in English language education.