(Jan 2017) Interview by Charlie Rose
Q1. Why called Alibaba ?
JM: I like “Alibaba, open sesame”. Internet is also opening opportunities.
Q2. What is your business philosophy?
JM: Customers #1, Employees #2, Shareholders #3. The conventional companies reverse these 3 priorities. When your company business hits difficulties, shareholders run first, but loyal employees and loyal customers stay with you.
Q3: Where are the business opportunities ?
JM: Today opportunities are everywhere if companies can solve problems faced by the customers. Alibaba’s value is helping the few hundred million SME (Small-Medium Entreprises) to sell their goods to the world. By helping customers (SME), they in turn help Alibaba growing.
Q4: Will Alibaba surpass Microsoft or Walmart one day ?
JM: Yes. Microsoft & Walmart are B-2-C business model, but Alibaba is bigger: C-2-B, bringing billion of customers together to force companies change their way of operating business.
Q5: Do you agree with philanthropy call by Bill Gates & Warren Buffet to donate 50% ~ 90% of your fortune away to charity in your life time?
JM: I only sleep on 1 bed, eat 3 meals…I don’t need millions to spend…If you earn more than 100 million dollars, these monies are given by society to you but not your monies. You should spend the money NOW – and not later in your life time – by giving back to society for the youth’s education, help them creating millions of jobs, health care, environment…
Q6: Can eCommerce companies in US beat Alibaba?
JM: USA still leads in technology innovation for the next 20~30 years. However, today it is the customer market place that drives the demand of product innovation… China market has 1.4 billion customers…
Ex-President Bill Clinton interviewed Jack Ma (2015):
China in the last 30 years was export-oriented economy, built factories making cheap products by polluting our environment. China government could not develop internal consumer market, because that required asking Chinese to spend their saving. Chinese saving is the world’s number 1, we spend yesterday’s money (saving) but the Americans spend tomorrow’s money (credit card, bank loans) or somebody’s else money (borrow debt by treasury bonds).
China soon to have half billion middle class people who will have money to spend by importing goods from the world. This is the opportunity for entrepreneurs like Alibaba. Unlike export-oriented economy pollutes air, river and environment, import-oriented economy will be more environment-friendly.