The New, Omnipresent E-commerce

November 15, 2013 2 mins read
The New, Omnipresent E-commerce

Ma Yun (Jack Ma), the previous CEO of Alibaba, says he has three goals.

These are as follows: “First, build a healthy shareholder structure—I can do it, I’m a weirdo, extremely stubborn and unyielding. Second, I want to unearth the best talent, train them and raise them. I used to be a teacher, I’m still a teacher now—I want to make them even better than me. Third, stay true to our system of values and principles. These are the only three things I’m interested in and focused on doing.”

Whether it’s the privatization of B2B, a series of large-scale internal reorganizations, news of stepping down as CEO, or rumors of the Alibaba Group’s impending market listing, the naturally high profile, former IC tycoon has been repeatedly in the spotlight.

“Not only has the spread of information changed how we produce things, it’s changed how we live—and it will bring about a monumental technological revolution. We must respect entrepreneurs and innovators, and create a fair competitive arena for a diverse set of enterprises—this is vital for our future.” These are some of the sentiments Premier Wen Jiabao expressed to Ma Yun. The latter’s suggestions to the premier were to upgrade the internet and e-commerce to the level of national strategy, and to call for a cultivation of entrepreneurial spirit—private business, as he put it, can’t be set free and held back at the same time.

Ma Yun had been in contact with Premier Wen Jiabao as early as 2010. On June 25 of that year, Wen Jiabao had gone to Alibaba Group’s Hangzhou Riverside Park to get a better understanding of the development of e-commerce. At their meeting, Ma Yun talked about Alibaba Group’s ten-year development goals, as well as his philosophy on innovation in e-commerce:

“Goal number one: Within the next ten years we want to create a platform to help ten million small businesses survive, grow and develop. Goal number two: Create 100 million global work opportunities. Goal number three: Create a platform to benefit a billion internet consumers,” Ma Yun reported to the premier.

This confidence obviously stems from Alibaba’s leading position in the domestic e-commerce industry. Whether it’s B2B, B2C or C2C—even third-party payments—at present, Alibaba’s leading position is unshakeable.

In today’s e-commerce, a trillion in sales is just a start. The only thing the industry has transformed so far is traditional retail channels. In the next three or five years, expect transformations in how we produce and manufacture things—to the point of transforming how we live our very lives.

Richie Holliday
Chief Operations Officer, Asia-Pacific