Caixin
Nov 09, 2018 06:03 PM
SOCIETY & CULTURE

Jack Ma-Mania Borders on Religious Fervor

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma performs tai chi in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in May 2013. Photo: VCG
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma performs tai chi in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in May 2013. Photo: VCG

Aisen Qiao knows he shouldn’t be religious. “I’m a communist,” he said, “which requires me to be an atheist.” But he likes keeping a shrine in his apartment nonetheless. Back in college, he kept a shrine to Confucius, the sage known for his commitment to education. “We would worship Confucius, to pray we wouldn’t fail our courses.”

But then he moved to Beijing, where he got a job in marketing, and suddenly the old sage didn’t seem so relevant. Qiao was trying to make money. He works 12 hours daily — from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. — and spends two hours commuting. And so the 25-year-old communist swapped out the picture of Confucius for one of billionaire tech tycoon Jack Ma.

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