In a frank and revealing conversation, Jack Ma revealed the weight of responsibility that his company’s record breaking IPO has thrust upon him.
“When you have $1 million, you’re a lucky person. When you have $10 million, you have trouble,” he said. “When you have more than $1 billion, you have responsibility.”
Jack Ma went on to claim that although he is now officially the richest man in China, there is very little about him that has changed. “People think you can spend money better than the others, but I only eat three meals a day. I only use one bed.”
Jack Ma on the possibility of expansion into the US
After a wildly successful IPO in New York, speculation has been rife that the company is preparing to expand into the US e-commerce market, in a straight fight with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Jack Ma was keen to underline the fact that this is far easier said than done, and would require a true strategic shift for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA). It would appear that Jack Ma acknowledges that his company has so far benefited from a lack of real competition in China.
He attributed much of his success to the business landscape in his home country. “The reason we win in e-commerce in China is because the infrastructure of commerce in China was too bad. Why e-commerce in the U.S. is not that good is because the infrastructure of commerce was so good, that e-commerce is a supplement,” he explained. “In U.S., e-commerce is a dessert. In China, it’s a main course.”
A focus on developing markets
Jack Ma also plans to reinvest $3 billion from the IPO in philanthropic environmental and educational projects in China. He added that he would use the money to help the next generation of Chinese entrepreneurs emulate his success, claiming: “I never had one day of education in the United States. I’m 100 percent made in China.”