Jack Ma failed his university entrance exams three times and worked as a teacher for years in the 1990s. This week, the Chinese tycoon—who is worth $21.5 billion—bought the Château de Sours in Bordeaux, France.
Ma, who's been compared to Bill Gates for his entrepreneurship and philanthropy, amassed his fortune as founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, an enormous e-commerce company that launched in 1999 (Yahoo owns a stake). He is one of the richest men in the world and not been afraid to spend his fortune; this is the guy who shelled out $193 million for a Hong Kong house in August of last year, making it the second-most expensive home sale in history.
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Over the last two decades, the Chinese have shown enormous interest in French wineries. Businessman Peter Kwok, also from Hong Kong, purchased the Chateau Haut-Brisson in 1997, in the Bordeaux village of Saint-Emilion. More recently, entrepreneur James Zhou acquired Château Renon and fellow billionaire Chen Miaolin took over Château de Birot. Just last December Chinese wine company Changyu bought 90 percent of Château Mirefleurs, in Bordeaux, from the Castel Group.