January 1964 (age 58)
|Nationality||Hong Kong SAR|
|Education||Yale University (BA, JD)|
|Known for||Co-founder and vice chairman, Alibaba Group|
Owner, Brooklyn Nets, San Diego Seals
|Spouse(s)||Clara Wu Tsai|
He is a co-founder and executive vice chairman of the Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba Group and owns the Brooklyn Nets of the American National Basketball Association (NBA), the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the San Diego Seals of the National Lacrosse League, and has interests in several other professional sports franchises.
The Tsai family had escaped to Taiwan as part of the Kuomintang exodus after the communists took over control of mainland China in 1949 during the Chinese Civil War. At age 13, Tsai was sent to the U.S. to attend the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, where he played both lacrosse and football (inside linebacker) and was a member of Cleve House. Tsai enrolled at his father's alma mater, Yale University. He played for the Yale varsity lacrosse team for four years and has remained a supporter of the team.
Tsai became a tax associate at the white-shoe law firm of Sullivan & Cromwell after graduation and was admitted as an attorney to the New York bar on 6 May 1991. After three years at the law firm, he switched to private equity and joined Rosecliff, Inc., a small management buyout firm based in New York, as vice president and general counsel. He left for Hong Kong in 1995 to join Investor AB, where he was responsible for its Asian private equity investments.
It was in this role that he first met Jack Ma in 1999 in Hangzhou after being introduced by a friend who was trying to sell his own company to Ma. Tsai was impressed with Ma's idea to create an international import and export marketplace, as well as his charismatic personality, but it was Ma's followers and their energy and enthusiasm that ultimately convinced Tsai. Later that year he quit the $700,000-a-year job at Investor AB and offered to join Ma as a member of the founding team for almost nothing. At the time each of Alibaba's 18 co-founders—of which Tsai was the only Western-educated member—accepted a salary of only $600 a year. He served as chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and founding board member. He single-handedly established Alibaba's financial and legal structure, since no other member of the team had any experience in venture capital or law. In May 2013, he became Alibaba's executive vice chairman. He has become the second-largest individual shareholder of Alibaba after Ma.
In September 2019, Tsai became the owner of the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and chairman of Barclays Center. He initially invested in the NBA team in October 2017, purchasing a 49% stake in the Nets from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov in a deal that valued the team at $2.3 billion, with the option to buy the remaining stake of the team no later than 2021. Tsai exercised that option in August 2019, and at the same time, bought the Nets' arena from Prokhorov for nearly $1 billion in a separate deal.
Tsai's ownership in the Nets includes the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League and the Nets Gaming Crew of the NBA 2K League. In January 2019, Tsai headed a group that bought the WNBA's New York Liberty from The Madison Square Garden Company. He owns the San Diego Seals, a professional box lacrosse team in the National Lacrosse League (NLL). On May 26, 2021, The NLL announced Tsai would be the owner of the new Las Vegas franchise.
He is also chairman of J Tsai Sports. Through that company, he has investments in the upstart field lacrosse league, the Premier Lacrosse League and several sports media and technology companies based in North America and Asia. Tsai made his investment in the Premier Lacrosse League in February 2019, along with The Chernin Group and The Raine Group, helping fund the new lacrosse league founded by lacrosse player Paul Rabil and his brother Mike Rabil.
On 21 June 2021, the National Lacrosse League announced that Tsai would be co-owning the 15th NLL franchise with Wayne Gretzky, Dustin Johnson, and Steve Nash with the team based in Las Vegas. 
Tsai holds Canadian and Hong Kong passports. He is married to Clara Ming-Hua Wu, a granddaughter of Wu San-lien, the first elected mayor of Taipei City. Wu spent her childhood in Lawrence, Kansas and is a graduate of Lawrence High School. Wu also graduated from Stanford University, where she studied international relations, and has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. She is an advisor for Taobao and is a member of The Bishop's School board of trustees. Tsai and Wu have three children. They lived in Hong Kong for over a decade, though now primarily reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California. Tsai still spends much of his time in Hong Kong for business and still has a home in Hong Kong. In January 2022, Tsai paid $188 million for a penthouse at 220 Central Park South.
On 7 October 2019, Tsai weighed in after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong. In an open letter to all NBA fans on his Facebook page, Tsai explained, with reference to historical foreign invasions of China, why Morey's tweet triggered a strong negative sentiment in China.
Tsai said, "I am going into all of this, because a student of history will understand that the Chinese psyche has heavy baggage when it comes to any threat, foreign or domestic, to carve up Chinese territories. When the topic of any separatist movement comes up, Chinese people feel a strong sense of shame and anger because of this history of foreign occupation." In his open letter, Tsai referred to Hong Kong protesters as part of a "separatist movement."
He wrote: "The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country's sovereignty over her homeland. This issue is non-negotiable."
In March 2016, Tsai donated $30 million to his alma mater, Yale Law School, in honor of his father to support the continuing work of the Law School's China Center and renamed it Paul Tsai China Center.
In May 2017, Tsai and his wife, through the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, made another donation to Yale for the construction, launch, and programs of the center and named it Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking.
In June 2017, the Tsais, again through the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, made a donation to his high school, the Lawrenceville School, in Mercer County, New Jersey, which was the single largest gift the school ever received. Tsai is a member of Lawrenceville's board of trustees.
In late March and early April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tsais donated 2.6 million masks, 170,000 goggles and 2,000 ventilators to New York. On 20 April 2020, they donated $1.6 million of medical supplies to hospitals in San Diego.
In July 2021, the Tsais debuted the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance and pledged US$220 million to the foundation to fund teams of experts and academics from Stanford University, the University of Kansas, the University of Oregon, University of California, San Diego, Boston Children's Hospital and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.
In 2017, Tsai received the George H.W. Bush '48 Lifetime of Leadership Award from Yale University.
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