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Jack Ma: Vision, and fears of a bubble

IMG_6958_1157878850630.JPG
The elf that roared
Last week your correspondent was a panelist at a huge conference in Shanghai about interactive and search engine marketing called Ad:tech. The keynote speaker was Jack Ma (马云), the elfin and charismatic founder and CEO of Alibaba.com.

Alibaba connects Chinese factories, many of them small- or medium-sized, with buyers in China and abroad. It is a little like a business-to-business eBay, but Alibaba has English editors that help Chinese companies to list their products in English, formatted in a way suitable for foreign buyers to browse.

Ma is one of the most interesting characters in China's Internet industry. Aside from his success in purely financial terms, Alibaba is perhaps the only major Chinese Internet company whose product is wholly original — compare it to Baidu which is a Google clone, Sina and Sohu which started out as Yahoo clones etc. etc.

Ma is also an entertaining speaker. Here are a few points he made during his keynote address:

- He will never enter the online gaming business because he thinks it's bad for kids;
- His vision for Alibaba is to help create a million jobs for Chinese people;
- He decided to partner with Yahoo because he thinks that search will become critical to the future development of online commerce websites such as Alibaba, Taobao and eBay;
- During the Q&A, an audience member asked him what he felt about online dating sites; he said that Alibaba could possibly enter that business because it fulfilled a real need and could make people happy.

Finally, when he looked out over the huge audience at his keynote address, he said that the sight of so many foreigners in one room talking about the Internet made him scared: The last time he saw huge gatherings of IT foreigners like that in China, dot com bubble 1.0 was about to burst.

Jack Ma's blog is here (not updated frequently, in Chinese; image above taken from his blog).

There are currently 3 Comments for Jack Ma: Vision, and fears of a bubble.

Comments on Jack Ma: Vision, and fears of a bubble

That was probably the fourth time I've seen Jack live and he is probably the most entertaining corporate presenter in China.
It will be a shame when they finally IPO and investor-relations types muzzle him (then it's no more bragging about the company's burn rate or remotely suggesting that there's a bubble).

We studied him and Alibaba during my recent MBA though I can't recall it was at Tsinghua or at Sauder (UBC). Unlike a lot of online ventures Alibaba seems to make money, but I question the wisdom of getting involved in some sideline business...

would like to know Muskie & his full comment on Jack Ma (not the other Jack W)........

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