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Who is the Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai? How did he make his fortune?

As co-founder and major stake holder in Alibaba, the Nets owner has made the large majority of his wealth from China’s biggest retail platform.

Who is the Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai? How did he make his fortune?

We’ve seen his name mentioned, in recent reports regarding his meeting with point guard Kyrie Irving and the fallout of an antisemitic controversy, but just who is the Nets owner and how did he amass his wealth?

Who is Nets owner Joseph Tsai?

Born in Taipei in January 1964 to a corporate lawyer and his wife, Joseph Tsai was sent by his parents at age 13 to Lawrenceville School, one of the most expensive boarding academies in the United States. There, Tsai would learn would actually excel at the game of lacrosse while doing so in the classroom as well. Later, Yale University would await and once there Tsai would complete a bachelor’s degree in East Asian studies and economics in 1986, before furthering his education at the university’s law school. Following his graduation, Tsai took a job in New York as a tax associate with the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm. From there, he would move to the buyout firm Rosecliff where he became a vice president and general counsel, before eventually departing for Hong Kong as a private equity investment manager for Stockholm-based Investor AB which is held by the Wallenberg family.

In 1996, the future Nets owner would marry Clara Wu and just three years later he would experience another life changing moment, when he was introduced to’s founder, Jack Ma. At the time Ma was running the now massive startup from his apartment in Hangzhou with no financial or legal experience and offered Tsai a salary of $50 a month for his assistance. Though the salary was nothing compared to the $700K he was earning at Investor AB, Tsai – with a pregnant wife at the time - shocked Ma by accepting his offer and the rest as we know is history. By the time 2000 rolled around, Tsai had raised $25 million from the likes of SoftBank, Goldman Sachs and Fidelity Investments to name a few. Today Alibaba is also responsible for Taobao, China’s top retail website and, which is the country’s most used online-payment service, all in large part due to Tsai’s contribution.

Joseph Tsai’s wealth

As you can probably guess, the large majority of Tsai’s wealth is derived from the 1.3% stake that he holds in the in Alibaba Group. According to Bloomberg, the group had revenue totaling $106 billion and 1.13 billion active customers as of March 31st, 2021. Where his aforementioned stake is concerned, Tsai has approximately 30% of them held by APN, a company based in the Cayman Islands in which he himself holds a 30% equity interest. As for the Brooklyn Nets which Tsai now owns, the billionaire purchased a 49% stake in the team from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov back in 2018. In September 2019, however, he would take things to the next level by acquiring the remaining 51% of the Nets as well as the Barclay Centre in which they play. As per reports at the time, Tsai paid $3.4 billion for both stakes and the stadium. A Canadian passport holder, Tsai is valued at approximately $8.1 billion today.


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