Jack Ma: Believe in yourself, believe in doing business in China
China's leading entrepreneur, Jack Ma, offered heavy doses of rags-to-riches inspiration and exhortations to embrace free trade and globalization during his keynote speech today at Cobo Center.
Ma, the co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of the world's wealthiest men, dominated this morning's sessions at the Gateway 17 conference, already heavy with business celebrities such as lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and Dave Abney, CEO of parcel delivery company UPS.
Ma's message: Doing business in China via e-commerce sites such as Alibaba proves ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs like many found in Detroit.
"Small business, you have nothing to lose," Ma exhorted his roughly 3,000 listeners. "The only thing you have to lose is the opportunity. Lose the hope, lose the future."
Along with the inspiration he sprinkled some startling statistics to capture the opportunity in China: That the Alibaba platform recently sold 2 million lipsticks in 10 minutes, or that when the site first started selling live Canadian lobsters for delivery to China, they sold nearly 100,000 immediately, enough to shut down the supply.
"Don't miss this chance," he said. "Embrace the change. See the future. Change yourself."
Gateway '17 is Alibaba's road show to promote greater U.S. exports to China, where a growing middle class — already some 300 million or more strong — is showing an insatiable appetite for consumer goods.
Ma said Alibaba picked Detroit for the conference because the Midwest has a lot of small businesses, particularly those providing various food products that could please Chinese consumers. His goal, he said, is to allow consumers anywhere to buy products from anywhere in the world — salmon from Norway, coconuts from Thailand — and receive them within 72 hours.
Alibaba is generally described as the Amazon.com of China. With $23 billion in annual revenues and 454 million active buyers, the site is enormous. Alibaba's online platforms account for 80% of all e-commerce in China.
The company said the Detroit conference is the largest such event outside of mainland China that it has held for small businesses interested in exporting to that nation.
As in other appearances, Ma celebrated his own journey from youthful failure to ultimate success. He recounted how he failed at multiple job applications in his early years, from police officer to fast-food worker, finally launching Alibaba with friends and supporters 18 years ago. More than 30 venture capitalists in Silicon Valley declined to finance the venture.
Against that background, he emphasized the dangers of traditional markers of business success. "When you get a feel of being successful, problems come," he said. "We know only if our customers succeed, we will be successful. Serve the people, that was what I learned."
And he promoted the benefits of globalization, noting that free trade may have a bad reputation in the U.S. today but that it remains essential to consumers everywhere. And the market in China is vast. Ma cited one telling statistic: Last year, some 150 million Chinese traveled abroad, a number equal to almost half the U.S. population.
It was hard to tell how many of the 3,000 or so attendees who packed Cobo's ballroom were already exporting to China or just curious. But Ma and the other speakers who spoke glowingly of doing business in China made a strong case why more should consider it.
Meanwhile, UPS's Abney advised the audience to understand the customs and culture of any nation where they hope to do business. "To sell around the world, you must go native," he said.
And lifestyle guru Stewart said China is proving a very welcoming market for her. "My experience is — good living can translate all over the world."
FAIR-USE COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER
* Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, commenting, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favour of fair use.
1)This video has no negative impact on the original works
2)This video is also for teaching and inspirational purposes.
3)It is not transformative in nature.
Law Of Attraction Coaching does not own the rights to these images, videos and audio files. They have, in accordance with fair use, been repurposed with the intent of educating and motivate others. However, if any content owners would like their images removed, please contact us by email at [email protected]