Jack Ma is going into show business.
No, the Chinese tycoon who founded the internet conglomerate Alibaba is not following in the footsteps of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who has added entertainment executive to his resume with Amazon’s recent foray into video streaming and film and TV production. At least, not yet.
Instead, Ma, who visited Manila last week, is taking an even bolder step of facing the cameras in what will be his big screen debut. Sharing stellar billing with no less than martial arts screen legends Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung, Ma will headline a short film called “Gong Shou Dao,” or “The Art of Attack and Defence.”
As reported by the South China Morning Post, which Ma owns, the film is scheduled for release in China on November 11. His role is in line with his passion for tai chi, a traditional Chinese martial art that Ma has been pursuing for decades.
During his visit to De La Salle University, where he received an honorary degree of doctor of science in technopreneurship, he told the university’s students that if one has a crazy dream, one should not share it with his grandfather.
“We have to stay foolish with our dreams and we have to continue. Be simple, stay foolish…,” he noted.
With his latest endeavor, it looks like Ma continues to take his own advice to heart.
Jet Li, who is the film’s executive producer, is Ma’s partner in a lifestyle company called Taiji Zen that offers tai chi courses online.
“We all have the same dream with the aim to promote China’s excellent traditional culture and a tribute to the predecessors in the field of Taiji, Kung Fu and Martial Arts. The timing seems to be perfect and everyone involved in this project were so enthusiastic in making it happen,” Li was quoted as saying by his own website, Jetli.com.
The film’s cast of A-list Kung Fu stars also includes Wu Jing, of “Wolf Warrior II” fame, champion boxer Zou Shiming, Thai actor Tony Jaa, and retired Mongolian sumo champion Asashoryu Akinori.
Although known for his business success, Jack Ma is no stranger to entertainment. A former English teacher, he had also done magic shows and sung Peking Opera in the past.