One of Asia’s richest men says that World War 3 is coming, and it will be beneficial to the world.
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, has predicted a approaching wave of global conflict influenced by the Internet, writes moneycontrol.com. Before you think that Ma is a war-mongering nut, it’s best to mention that he is talking about a different kind of war than most of you are probably imagining.
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World War 3 but not as you might imagine
The Alibaba founder is not predicting countries fighting each other over land and resources, but rather work together in a World War 3 against societal ills. “The third world war is going to happen, and this war is not between nations,” Ma said during a speech at an event hosted by the Economic Club of New York. “In this war we work together against the disease, the poverty, the climate change—and I believe this is our future.”
Ma went on to say that provoking a World War 3-style conflict is something he cares deeply about, and believes that the influence of Alibaba in globalizing e-commerce can have a positive effect.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about the dreams,” he said, speaking to the future of the Internet.
Alibaba wants to expand its operations outside China, and to that end Ma is undertaking a tour of the United States this week, during which he will pitch his platform to U.S. business leaders.
Alibaba planning expansion
Some analysts believe that Alibaba could make a move into the U.S. market, and enter into direct competition with other e-commerce giants such as Amazon. However others have predicted that such a move would end badly for the company.
For his part, Ma is keen to stress that his company is not analogous to Amazon. “From the American point of view, Amazon probably is the only business model for e-commerce, but no, we are different,” he said. Alibaba does not handle the products in any way. The company is not responsible for buying, selling or delivering goods, so it has no inventory nor warehouses.
Ma wants people to think of Alibaba as a way that small businesses can boost sales in the global digital marketplace, and he believes that U.S. firms could benefit from such a move. “We show great respect for eBay and Amazon, but I think the opportunity and the strategy for us is helping small business in America go to China, sell their products in China,” he said.
Platform could open huge new market for U.S. businesses
The potential market for U.S. goods is huge, and Ma claims that the number of Chinese who are classified as middle class has already reached a similar level as the entire population of the United States, and its growth shows no sign of slowing down.
Ma believes that Alibaba’s new approach will benefit both the company’s expansion plans and U.S. businesses which want to reach new customers. “China has been focused on exporting for the past 20 years, and I think in the next 10-20 years China should be focusing on importing. China should learn to buy, China should spend the money, China should buy a lot of its things globally,” he said. “And I think that American small business, American-branded products, should use the Internet and go to China.”
As well as plans for its e-commerce business, Alibaba is also working on expanding its cloud computing operations. Such a move would make Alibaba a competitor of Amazon, Google and Microsoft in an increasingly important sector.
Alibaba is also looking for new ways to expand its operations in the U.S., with recent reports suggesting that the company had invested in Snapchat. Ma has also previously spoken about his ambitions to work in Hollywood.
One of the richest men in China, but not happy about it
Ma previously held the title of China’s richest man, with an estimated fortune of $24.5 billion. However he was demoted into second place for a time by energy magnate Li Hejun, before Li lost almost $15 billion last month. It is thought that Ma has now reclaimed the crown, but it is one that he does not particularly care for.
He spoke out about his new status in November last year, telling CNBC: “People say, ‘Well Jack, rich people is good.’ Yeah it is good, but not the richest man in China. It’s a great pain because when you’re (the) richest person in the world, everybody (is) surrounding you for money.”.
“Today when I walk on the street, people look at you in a different—I want people to see this is entrepreneur, this is a guy who is having fun of himself, and I want to be myself.” Despite the riches that the Alibaba float has afforded him, Ma claims that in an alternative reality he would have kept his company private, since the float has made his life “much worse.”