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Back in 1980, when Jack Ma was a teenager he met a Newcastle boy named David Morley in the
tourist area of Hangzhou,China.


There, they played sports and went on to become pen pals. In particular it was Ken Morley,
father of David, who built a relationship of strong friendship with the young Ma.


“I remember the day we met him very well,” says Ken’s son David Morley;
“I had gone down to the West Lake in Hangzhou to flick matches and this boy came up to me who
could speak English.”
“I think dad saw something in him,” says Morley, who now runs a yoga studio in Newcastle.


Initially, they would swap letters. Ma, writing in English, would leave every second line blank,
which Morley senior would dutifully correct and send back with a letter of his own.


It was this grounding in English that allowed Ma to go to America, where he became
interested in the internet.
But this story that I’m writing now is not just related to business and success;
above all is a history of mentorship and influence.


Mr Morley went on to become a highly influential figure in Jack’s life, instilling core values and a global
perspective that positively impacted Mr Ma’s future and contributed to his personal success and personal
brand. Mr Ma and Mr Morley remained close friends until Mr Morley’s death in 2004.


Ken Morley, a socialist, took young Ma under his wing and five years later invited him to their New South
Wales home; Ken and his wife, Judy, opened Jack’s eyes to the world beyond China.
They helped subsidise
his cost of living at Hangzhou Teachers College and also contributed USD22,000 to the purchase of
newlywed Jack’s first home.


Alibaba founder Jack Ma says a unique friendship he forged with Morley family 30 years ago has had a
profound influence on his life. Ma donated $20 million to the University of Newcastle in New South Wales
last year, to establish a scholarship program, and honor that friendship.


What can we learn:
  • An international mindset is a point of strength that every entrepreneur must have;
  • Gratitude is a universal value;
  • The personal brand of a successful man is also formed through the exchange of different
    cultures and points of view;
  • we all need mentors;
  • Every modern Chinese entrepreneur should have in his team mentors, valuable people and international members helping him to build his business;
  • Good values shape successful companies.
Thanks for reading; My name is Brizzo and I’m a digital marketer based in Shanghai.
My experience is on Personal Branding & Online Reputation on Social Media.


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