Alibaba Group’s Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma has been awarded the Asia Society’s inaugural Asia Game Changer Award for his vision in creating China’s largest e-commerce company and his position as the country’s leading Internet entrepreneur.
At an awards ceremony held on Thursday at the United Nations in New York City, Ma was also recognized for his charitable contributions and his global vision. Attendees at the ceremony included United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who was also nominated for the award.
“I never thought I would have the chance in my life to be at the United Nations,” Ma said according to a transcript of his remarks. “I’ve described myself as ‘a blind man riding on the back of a blind tiger’ but those experts riding horses all fell. We survived because we worried about the future and we believed in the future and we changed ourselves,” Ma said. The Asia Society acknowledged Ma’s his work in philanthropy, such as his decision together with Alibaba Group co-founder Joe Tsai to establish personal charitable trusts funded by their Alibaba stock options.
The Asia Game Changer Award was launched this year as an annual award to identify and honor individuals, organizations and movements that make a positive contribution to the future of Asia in the fields of arts and culture, business and education. Nominees this year included Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an attack by Taliban gunmen and became an outspoken advocate for girls’ education, jointly winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
Last December, Ma, 50, was named the Financial Times 2013 Person of the Year and was elected this year to the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum (WEF).