A Chinese taxi driver-turned-billionaire just bought a $170 Million painting

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A former Chinese cab driver who hustled his way to becoming a billionaire just set the world record for the second highest price ever paid for a work of art an auction with the purchase of a $170.4 million painting.

The painting, Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couché”, or “Reclining Nude”, was sold on Monday at Christie’s in Manhattan to Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian who bid for the painting over the phone. “Reclining Nude” is now the second highest price ever paid for a work of art at an auction behind Pablo Picasso’s “Women of Algiers (Version O)”, which sold for $179.5 million at Christie’s last May.

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Yiqian, 52, was a middle school dropout who struggled to survive during China’s Cultural Revolution by selling handbags on the street before becoming a cab driver. In the 1980s and 1990s, he made a fortune off investing in stocks for real estate and pharmaceuticals. Now worth $1.4 billion, Yiqian is an art collector and the owner, along with his wife, of two art museums in Shanghai where they are known to be flashy art collectors.

Yiqian plans to bring the pricey painting to display in one of his museums so that Chinese people don’t have to travel across the world just to see it.

The eccentric art collector made headlines last year when bought the famous Ming DynastyChicken Cup,” a finely crafted teacup with a rooster drawn on it, for $36.3 million. Yiqian paid for the cup by using his black American Express Centurion card and swiping it 24 times. Yiqian later posted a picture of himself sipping tea from the antique cup.

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma reveals the one thing that’s more important than working for a big company

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Alibaba billionaire and business sage Jack Ma is known for dishing out wisdom on occasion. This time, in front of a younger audience, he revealed a general timetable for gaining business experience as well as what young people who aspire to work for big companies should seek instead.

Here’s an excerpt from his interview:

Before 20 years old, be a good student. If possible, get some work experience.

“Before 30 years old, follow somebody. Go to a small company. Normally in a big company, it’s good to learn processing. You are part of a big machine. But when you go to a small company, you learn the passion. You learn the dreams. You learn how to do a lot of things at one time.”

“So, before 30 years old, it’s not which company you go, it’s which boss you follow. It’s very important. A good boss will teach you a differently.

From 30 to 40 years old, you have to think very clearly — you work for yourself if you want to be an entrepreneur.

“When you are 40 to 50 years old, you have to do all the things you are good at. Don’t try to drop into new areas. It’s too late. You may be successful, but the rate of dying is too big. So 40 to 50, think about how you can focus on things that you are good at.

“But when you are 50 to 60 years old, work for young people because young people can do better than you. So rely on them, invest in them and make sure they are good.

“When you are over 60 years old, spend time for yourself. On the beach, sunshine. It’s too late for you to change.”

Ma also revealed that his biggest regrets are being a famous billionaire, because it took his privacy away, and that he wished he could spend more time with his family.

McDonald’s Japan founder explains why Japanese people are ‘Short and Yellow’

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Every now and then, we revisit a part of history that some companies would rather be kept swept under the rug. This story comes from the Japanese entrepreneur and self-made billionaire that brought the first McDonald’s to Japan, Den Fujita.

Fujita fell in love with McDonald’s the first time he ate it in 1967 — he was amazed by how popular and efficient the burger chain was. When he saw the opportunity to bring the franchise to Japan, he opened the first Japanese McDonald’s in a Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo in 1971. It was an instant success, particularly because of their Japanese-styled Teriyaki McBurger and Chicken Tatsuta.

But perhaps Fujita’s love for the American burger chain extended beyond just the burgers. On his strategy for selling McDonald’s to Japanese people, Fujita is credited as saying:

“The reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years … If we eat McDonald’s hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white, and our hair blonde.”

Does McDonald’s food secretly hold the key to creating a master race? I guess we won’t find out until the year 2971.

It was Fujita’s dream to see 10,000 McDonald’s in Japan by 2010 — as of 2013, there were only 3,164 McDonald’s in Japan, the second most popular country for the fast-food chain after the U.S.

Den Fujita retired in 2003 and died of heart failure in April of 2004 at the age of 78, two days after McDonald’s then-CEO Jim Cantalupo died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 60. It is unknown whether McDonald’s food played a contributing factor in their deaths.

Filipino American co-founder of Snapchat, 26-year-old Bobby Murphy, is 2nd youngest billionaire in world

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Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy

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The Filipino-American co-founder of Snapchat is the world’s second youngest billionaire on Forbes’ Billionaire list. 

Bobby Murphy, 26, is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine. The baby-faced Murphy made his fortune from Snapchat, along with his friend Evan Spiegel, who at 24, is the world’s youngest billionaire.

Snapchat is a popular temporary photo messaging app. It is currently valued at $10 billion and has 100 million users a month. Forbes estimates both Murphy and Spiegel have a 15 percent stake each in Snapchat.

Murphy, whose mother emigrated from the Philippines, grew up in Berkley, California. Murphy and Spiegel met while they were students at Stanford University. They were both members of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Murphy was a mathematics and computational science major, while Spiegel was in the product-design program.

In an interview with Forbes magazine in 2013, Murphy said they “weren’t cool (in college), so we tried to build things to be cool.”

They first worked together to develop an online software called Future Freshmen, but it didn’t take off. For their next project, a fellow Stanford student and friend, Reggie Brown (who would later sue the company for ownership), came up with suggestion for an app to send disappearing photos.

Spiegel decided to tap Murphy, who had just graduated, to develop the app. It was originally named Picaboo.

After the company received a cease-and-desist letter from a photobook company of the name, they changed the app to “Snapchat.” Spiegel called this the “biggest blessing ever.”

Evan and I got started Snapchat in the summer of 2011, basically understood that visual content that was the most engaging, interesting form of content there was. We wanted to create a way that would enable that to be a means of communication, rather than a piece of content around which communication actually happens,” Murphy said during a Google Cloud Platform Live session in 2014.

Spiegel is the good-looking, outspoken public face of Snapchat, while Murphy, the chief technology officer (CTO), is the brains who developed the app. Little is known about Murphy, who was described by Forbes, as the son of state employees from Berkeley.

I’d describe him almost like a monk,” David Kravitz, Snapchat’s first employee, told Forbes in 2013. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him upset.”

Snapchat founders Evan Spiegel (left) and Bobby Murphy at the Time 100 gala in New York, April 29, 2014.

Chinese billionaire gifts over $1 million to his hometown’s elderly for Chinese New Year

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Next Shark: (By Augustine Reyes Chan)

Many Chinese all over the world receive red envelopes full of cash during Chinese New Year. The money is typically given by the married to children and the unmarried and is supposed to bestow good fortune on those who receive it, as our site explains. Most get around over $100 or more each year. But what if you opened a red envelope and found that you received 10,000 yuan ($1,600) out of a whopping 6.5 million yuan (over $1 million) total?

That’s what Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong gave out for the Spring Festival in the Jiangsu Province in Suqian City this past week. As China Smack reported, Liu Qiangdong gave out the 6.5 million yuan in red envelopes to around 650 elderly people over 60 years old in his village birthplace.

Liu Qiangdong, who is most famous for the Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, China’s second largest online mall, said:

“I grew up here, and without the care and concern of the elders of my hometown, I would not have been able to leave this village, nor would I be the person I am today.”

Liu gave the money to express good will to the elderly and so that they would have a happy new year. He also used the occasion to introduce Zhang Zetian as his “wife,”  although it’s been reported that they just got engaged. The two make up a formidable power couple; Zhang is an internet meme sensation nicknamed Milk Tea Girl, after a photo of her holding up a cup of milk tea went viral. Because of this, she is now a budding film star who just received her first role in a movie last year. They’re also infamous for their age gap; Liu is 19 years older than 21-year-old Zhang.

 

Billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba is sending Chinese gay couples to get married in California

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Alibaba, along with Chinese companies Taobao and Danlan, are doing something extra special for several Chinese gay couples this Valentine’s Day — they’re helping them tie the knot in Los Angeles’ most fabulous town.

Chinese LGBT news site Danlan, along with Blued, China’s leading gay dating app, and three LGBT nonprofits, recently teamed up to hold an online contest to find 10 lucky couples to be awarded with California-based wedding and honeymoon packages. The winning pairs were chosen by 75,000 voting netizens out of more than 400 video submissions of couples telling their love story.

Melanie Lee, a spokesperson for Alibaba, said the contest “hopes to evoke respect and understanding of homosexuality and support the realization of dreams … It’s more of a symbolic kind of gesture.”

West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico, who lives in WeHo with his partner Keith and their two dogs, will serve as a wedding witness. Gay marriage is illegal in China and the couples’ weddings will not be recognized in their own country, but when love is on the line, you just have to go for it.

This also isn’t the first time Alibaba has launched an LGBT-friendly campaign; last year, they featured a gay couple in their promo video for “Single’s Day” in Asia, according to Shanghaiist.

Why billionaire Jack Ma hired a Tai Chi master as his personal bodyguard

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Alibaba founder Jack Ma recently became the richest man in Asia with a net worth of $28.6 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Naturally, someone that important should hire some muscle, only Jack Ma hired a master of Tai Chi instead.li 4
Tai Chi, made famous by slow-moving elderly people in parks, isn’t traditionally known as a fighting technique. It focuses on soft, internal power rather than hard power, which we would attribute to fighting styles in kung fu or karate. As a master of the flow, Li Tianjin can use Tai Chi as an incredible form of self-defense At 35-years-old, Li stands at just over 5-foot-6-inches weighing 188 pounds. Before accepting the quest of guarding the eccentric but frail billionaire Jack Ma, Li was a coach at the Tai Chi Temple in Hangzhou.

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Li was born in the birthplace of Tai Chi in Chenjiagou, Wen County, in Henan Province.

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He began his practice of Tai Chi at the age of 8.
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By the time he was 14, Li became the apprentice of Wang Xi’an, a grandmaster of Chen-style Tai Chi, which can definitely be used as physical self defense. At 19, he won his first Tai Chi competition and went on to win several titles on the national level.

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A Jack Ma biography in Chinese, titled “Ma Yun in Cloth Shoes,” tells 27 stories that shaped Ma’s life, one of which took place in Mongolia when Li allegedly destroyed a wrestler “in the blink of an eye.”

Once, Jack Ma and some members of the Nature Conservancy went to Hulun Buir Grassland in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for a study. There, a tenacious Mongolian wrestler approached them with a challenge: ”Three of you can pick one of us to have a fight.” Li came forward and replied, “Which one is the best wrestler among you all? Come fight with me.” Unsurprisingly, the low-profile Tai Chi master defeated the best Mongolian wrestler among them.

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Tai Chi has also heavily influenced Jack Ma’s life philosophy, and he sticks to three principles — calm, follow and abandon. Always remain calm no matter what, follow the flow after knowing one’s strength, and abandon your burden in life. Nobody better mess with Jack Ma.