Alibaba has come a long way since Jack Ma launched the company in 1999. The company made zero revenues in the first three years, but today it has grown into one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. Speaking at a seminar hosted by Charlie Rose at the World Economic Forum, Jack Ma said the company was still in its infancy.
Alibaba is still a baby
Ma said Alibaba is a big company compared to where it was 15 years ago. But compared to where it will be in the next 15 years, it is “still a baby.” He said the Hangzhou-based company aims to become a truly global organization. His vision for Alibaba is to help 10 million small businesses and serve two billion customers outside China.
Ma said Alibaba wants to help the U.S. and European businesses sell more goods to Chinese buyers. The company has launched Tmall Global exclusively for international brands that want to target Chinese customers. It is also working to launch the international version of Taobao platform. He said e-commerce will likely be forgotten in the next 15 years as people will start thinking of it as an everyday object like electricity.
Over 100 million shoppers visit Alibaba sites every day
In an attempt to encourage and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, Ma told audience that he was once turned down for a job at KFC. Today, he is the richest man in Asia with a net worth of more than $28 billion. Jack Ma said that more than 100 million shoppers visit Alibaba platforms every day, reports CNBC. He added that the company has helped create over 14 million jobs, directly and indirectly, in China. Alibaba currently has about 30,000 employees.
When asked about his relationships with the Chinese government, Ma said it was an “interesting” relationship. He said businesses should respect the government officials, but not “marry them.” Jack Ma accompanied Chinese premier Xi Jinping during his trip to South Korea late last year. Last week, reports surfaced that Alibaba was in talks to invest $460 million to set up ‘Alibaba Town’ in South Korea.