Despite its origins as a Western traditional festival, China has enthusiastically embraced Valentine’s day. In keeping with the love that’s in the air, AllChinaTech has picked out the top 4 romantic tales behind Chinese tech leaders.

Jack Ma

Jack Ma and his wife Zhang Ying.
Jack Ma and his wife Zhang Ying.

Jack Ma, aged 53, the founder of Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform, met his wife Zhang Ying when he was in university. Ma received his bachelor’s degree in 1988; soon afterwards, Ma and Zhang got married.

Jack Ma founded Alibaba in April 1999, when his wife Zhang had already resigned from her earlier post and joined Ma in building up the e-commerce empire.

In 2004, Alibaba crossed an important milestone of success: it raised USD 82 million from several investors. It was one of the largest private equity commitments ever in the Chinese Internet sector, according to the company. Late that year, Zhang resigned from her post as general manager of Alibaba’s China business and turned to family life.

The couple have a son who was reportedly born in 1992.

Pony Ma

Pony Ma
Pony Ma.

Pony Ma, aged 46, is the CEO of Chinese tech behemoth Tencent, a company which was founded in 1998. Interestingly, Tencent not only brought Pony Ma financial success, but also helped him meet his wife.

Ma met his wife Wang Danting on Tencent’s chat room product OICQ soon after it was launched in 1999.

Wang, who keeps a low profile, is reported to be a musician, playing the Erhu, a traditional Chinese instrument. After they got married, Wang gave birth to a girl in the 1990s, and later a boy.

Richard Liu (Liu Qiangdong)

Richard Liu and his wife Zhang Zetian.
Richard Liu and his wife Zhang Zetian.

Richard Liu, 43 years old, is the founder and CEO of the Chinese e-commerce site JD.com. Ms. Zhang Zetian was already very famous among Chinese internet users before she met Liu.

She first came to fame at the age of 16 when a photo of her holding a bottle of milk tea went viral in 2009. Her innocent good looks propelled her to internet fame, earning her the nickname “Milk Tea Girl”.

It is reported that Liu and Zhang, despite their 19-year age gap, began seeing each other when Zhang was an exchange student at Barnard College between the fall of 2013 and the summer of 2014.

In October 2015, the two held a lavish wedding ceremony near the Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.

In March 2016, Zhang gave birth to a baby girl.

Robin Li

Robin Li and his wife Dongmin Ma.
Robin Li and his wife Dongmin Ma.

Robin Li, 49 years old, founder of China’s search engine giant Baidu, ended his search for love when he met his wife Dongmin Ma.

In 1995, he met Dongmin Ma in New York at a party of overseas Chinese students. At that time, Ma was studying for her doctorate degree, which the talented woman achieved at the age of 25.

Li fell in love with Ma at the first sight, according to Li, and he married Ma late that year.

In 2005, Baidu got listed on the Nasdaq. At the celebration ceremony, Li pronounced that “One of the spirits of Baidu is courage. My wife, Doctor Dongmin Ma, is the origin of that courage.”

The couple has four children: three girls and a boy.

With all the love stories of Chinese tech in mind, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day! At the very least, apps like Tinder are giving us new opportunities to meet that special someone.

(All photos from Pixabay.com and Baidu Images)

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Heather Wang
Heather is a writer at ACT. She is passionate about literature, photography and technology. She graduated from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics with a Master's Degree. Write to her: heather[at]allchinatech.com