Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Founder Jack Ma Speaks Out

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, 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 claimed that he benefited greatly from the network of small- to medium-sized businesses that use Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) to buy and sell goods in a country where business infrastructure is underdeveloped. That could explain his desire to expand into developing countries, bringing 6.5 billion new users into the e-commerce market.

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.”

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About the Author

Brendan Byrne
While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]

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