- Net Worth: $9.6 billion
- Education: Yale University
Joseph Tsai‘s net worth is an estimated $9.6 billion, according to Forbes. Tsai a Canadian businessman who is the co-founder and executive vice-chairman of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group. He reportedly ranks as the second-largest shareholder.
Tsai was born in Taiwan, is U.S. educated, holds a Canadian passport, and lives in Hong Kong and San Diego, California, according to Bloomberg.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Tsai Serves Was a Part of the Founding Team of Alibaba Group in 1999
According to Forbes, Tsai received his bachelor’s degree in Economics and East Asian Studies from Yale College and a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School.
According to its website, before Alibaba, Tsai was an associate attorney in the tax group of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, a New York-based international law firm. Next, he worked as general counsel of Rosecliff, Inc., a management buyout firm based in New York. Then, Tsai became a private equity investor based in Hong Kong with Investor AB.
Tsai became a member of the founding team for Alibaba Group in 1999, according to its website. He has served on the company’s board of directors since its inception, held the position of the chief financial officer until 2013, and is currently the executive vice-chairman.
“I knew I was in an environment to learn, so I didn’t want to stick out,” Tsai is quoted on Forbes. “I knew I had a knowledge that nobody else had, so people could trust that aspect to me… I don’t pretend to do everything. I knew what my role was [on joining Alibaba].”
2. Tsai Ranks on Several Forbes Lists
According to his Forbes profile, Tsai ranks on several lists. He was number 31 on Forbes’ Richest In Tech in 2017, number 8 on Hong Kong’s 50 Richest in 2019, and number 147 on Forbes’ Billionaires in 2019.
Interestingly, Tsai only accepted $50 a month as an initial salary from Alibaba lead founder Jack Ma when the pair first met in 1999, according to Forbes. He has since gone on to amass a fortune of approximately $9.6 billion dollars to support himself, his wife Clara Wu, and his children Dash, Jacob, and Alex.
According to its website, Alibaba Group was established in 1999 by 18 people. Today the company and its related companies operate leading wholesale and retail online marketplaces as well as businesses in cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, innovation initiatives and others.
“We aim to build the future infrastructure of commerce,” the vision statement reads. “We envision that our customers will meet, work and live at Alibaba, and that we will be a company that lasts at least 102 years.”
3. Tsai Will Be The New Owner of the Brooklyn Nets
According to an NBA press release, the majority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell full ownership of the Barclays Center and his 51% controlling interest in the Brooklyn Nets to an entity controlled by Joseph Tsai.
“I’ve had the opportunity to witness up close the Brooklyn Nets rebuild that Mikhail started a few years ago. He hired a front office and coaching staff focused on player development, he supported the organization with all his resources, and he refused to tank,” Tsai said in the release. “I will be the beneficiary of Mikhail’s vision, which put the Nets in a great position to compete, and for which I am incredibly grateful.”
Tsai purchased 49 percent of the Nets for $1 billion in 2018, the press release states. Through the purchase of Prokhorov’s remaining shares, the deal will make Tsai the sole investor of the team.
4. Tsai’s Purchase Will Become the Highest Price Ever Paid for a Sports Franchise
The $2.35 billion transaction, which requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors, would mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise, the New York Post reports.
“We are committed to maintaining Barclays Center’s iconic status by bringing together culture, community, and entertainment for our fans and everyone in New York,” said Tsai.
The transactions are reportedly set to close in September, after which Tsai will assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors for Barclays Center and NBA Governor of the Nets and its affiliates. The venue and team, however, will continue to run under the current management, accoridng to the release.
5. Tsai is a Sports Fanatic & Owns Several Other Sports Teams
According to his Twitter page, Tsai is Fan of Yale Lacrosse, the BrooklynNets, the New York Liberty, Seals Lacrosse, the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club, Stanford Women’s Lacrosse, the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association, and Yale Men’s Basketball.
The San Diego Business Journal reports that Tsai purchased the San Diego Seals franchise for $5 million. Tsai reportedly played lacrosse during his time at Yale University and remains passionate about the sport. His daughter Alex is a sophomore on the Stanford women’s lacrosse team.
In addition, Tsai purchased the WNBA’s New York Liberty in January 2019, according to ESPN. The outlet reports that the Liberty had lost money every year since its inception, cumulatively exceeding $100 million.