Alibaba is training 32 young foreign employees in leadership. This is another sign of its ambitious strategy for expansion outside China, reports the China Daily. The students, who are from 14 different nations, will be spending a year at company headquarters in Hangzhou at Alibaba’s Global Leadership Academy.

Alibaba
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Alibaba preparing global leaders

The 32 students will engage in industry tours, cultural immersion, and leadership training and will serve rotational assignments in different business units. The first class started in October. After the training is done, the students will be sent to company offices in continental Europe, the United States, India, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia and other places where the e-commerce giant has a growing presence, notes the China Daily.

The students participating in the program are graduates from universities like Cambridge, Yale, Oxford and Harvard. They were selected based on stringent criteria such as strategic and innovative thinking, learning ability, and cultural fit for the company.

Alibaba has committed to running the program for at least a decade and anticipates that enrollment will increase to 100 students yearly. According to the Chinese firm, more than 3,000 students applied to the inaugural class. The finalists had to go through many interviews, including a visit to Alibaba’s Hangzhou headquarters. The online retailer did not reveal the salary figures of the workers, but it did say that the students are being paid competitively, notes The WSJ.

Boosting Alibaba’s global expansion

Brian Wong, the Alibaba vice president who supervises the program, said the academy aims to train students in a deeper understanding and global vision of China. Wong said the training “will help the company build a strong foundation for our future international footprint. It also shows what Chinese companies are doing to engage with the rest of the world.”

Alibaba executives are betting that this leadership program will produce global-minded and China-trained leaders who will be able to manage and make partnerships with foreign retailers. This move pushes the e-commerce giant closer to its aim of earning 40% of revenue overseas in the next ten years, notes The WSJ.

According to official data, China’s direct investment in foreign land reached almost $146 billion in the first 10 months of last year, around 53.3% more than the year-earlier period. Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma feels such programs are a gateway to building “mutual understanding and trust” for a meaningful global impact.

On Thursday, Alibaba shares closed down 1.05% at $95.90.