WEF 2015: Jack Ma wants Alibaba to serve 2 billion consumers

By Fon Mathuros

  • Ma envisions Alibaba to be platform for small businesses around the world
  • Next phase of growth will come from helping 10 million small businesses outside China
  • Alibaba hopes to exceed Walmart in sales in 10 years
  • For more information about the Annual Meeting 2015: http://wef.ch/davos15

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland – Jack Ma, Founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and China’s richest man, told participants at the 45th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting  that his vision is to serve 2  billion consumers and to help 10 million small businesses outside China sell their products through the internet.

Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, People’s Republic of China, said that it currently has 300 million people transacting through its web portals, about a third of them chalking up 60 million transactions daily, with 10 million small businesses, mostly within China.

“I’ve been thinking how we can make Alibaba a global platform for small businesses around the world,” he said. “My vision is, if we can help a small business in Norway sell things to Argentina, and Argentina consumers can buy things online from Switzerland, we can build up an e-WTO. WTO is great but last century. Today, the internet can help small business sell things across the oceans. I hope we can serve 2 billion consumers and help 10 million small businesses outside China.”

Ma said he would like to see Alibaba exceeding Walmart in sales in 10 years’ time. Along with his grand vision for his group, Ma also told participants that success comes with the heavy responsibility of ensuring that he and his team live up to the public trust bestowed on them. “For e-commerce, the most important thing is trust,” he said.

He added that his desire to succeed stems from his wish to be an inspiration to young people in China. “If we can be successful, 80% of young people in China can be successful,” he said, adding that they, like him, do not have the benefit of inherited wealth.

Ma also explained why early rejections in his life only strengthened his resolve to succeed. “I went to KFC; 24 people went for the interview, 23 got accepted. I was the only one rejected,” he said. Harvard University also snubbed him 10 times. “I told myself, some day I will go there to teach.”

Ma said Hollywood movies have been one of the great inspirations in his life, in particular, the character of Forrest Gump. “I love Forrest Gump,” he said. “A simple guy – [but he] never gives up.”

More than 2,500 participants are taking part at the 45th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from 21 to 24 January 2015.

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