Homepage / Technology / How Jack Ma's foresight helped Alibaba become an e-commerce giant
Disney is better off not meddling with Hulu, despite bigger ownership share Disney to buy 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion in stock; Bob Iger to stay on through 2021 Bank of England unanimously votes to hold interest rates, shifting focus to inflation Bitcoin futures could be coming to Germany soon: Report Putin abandons United Russia party, will run as an independent in 2018 election HSBC's currency expert gives his best trades for 2018 Tax reform should not hurt US trade partners, says top EU official All you need to know about the top 5 cryptocurrencies South Africa's Sibanye-Stillwater to buy troubled platinum producer Lonmin IBM teams up with Samsung, JPMorgan to develop quantum computing Greece should only get a debt deal after its bailout is finished, new Eurogroup president says Europe markets set to open lower after Fed meeting; investors await ECB decision Germany’s in the middle of a deep political crisis, but it won't affect the euro Meet the new euro zone finance chief, who’s promising a fresh response for the embattled region Brexit will be a key challenge for 2018, says next euro zone finance chief South Korea's President Moon heads to China to mend ties. Beijing needs a few favors too Australia accused China of political interference, and Beijing isn't happy China just released a bunch of economic data that was in line with expectations China lifts market rates, following move by Fed China and India are fiercely competing to control an airport that basically nobody uses Chinese state press slams Western 'paranoia' for suspicions of infiltration Microsoft doesn't have a flashy assistant like Alexa, but its A.I. is trying to change how you work Cramer says Fox deal will give Disney the scale it desperately needs Just Capital's Dan Hesse: Companies that do good things have roughly 33 percent higher returns Asian markets to focus on Fed's third rate hike of the year; US dollar slides Cramer: Bull markets 'die on euphoria,' and we're one step away There's a one-bedroom condo for sale in Miami — and the seller will only accept bitcoin Apple co-founder, ‘father of the internet’ to FCC: ‘You don’t understand how the internet works’ Satya Nadella wishes Microsoft had got into the public cloud business sooner This elevator goes up, down and sideways, and could be the key to taller skyscrapers Apple has a $1 billion fund for US manufacturers, but it could invest more, said COO Jeff Williams Fed raises rates a quarter point, hikes growth outlook for economy You should update your iPhone now, as the new software fixes a pretty big bug Ivanka Trump’s brand repositions at home, soars in Asia 'Nobody has built a money-printing machine like Apple,' VC Jason Calacanis says These 90 private companies are reshaping the space industry, says Morgan Stanley Gundlach says if you bet against bitcoin today 'you'll make money' Uber's culture issues can be blamed on Silicon Valley's hunger for fast growth: Arianna Huffington Google, Facebook founders were naive about propaganda, extremist content, say Silicon Valley titans Gundlach: Tax plan could have some' unintended consequences,' hurt junk bond market Cramer: People will fight it, but Apple's investment in Finisar is a 'fantastic' deal Facebook found just three Russian-bought Brexit ads, amounting to less than $1 Overstock.com shares spike after blockchain unit announces for-profit property registry Dow stock Boeing is on track for best year in nearly 4 decades, but the charts point to trouble Another bitcoin rival leaps to a record high, surpassing litecoin's market value Martin Sorrell: Finalized Disney-Fox deal would be a top media investment for us What to expect in Yellen's swan song: 'She's not a showboater' Target to buy grocery delivery service Shipt for $550 million When politicians and executives get caught out Some of Facebook’s early friends now its sharpest critics US says hacker to plead guilty for role in 2016 cyber attacks Laser chip maker Finisar jumps 25% on news that Apple's investing $390 million in the company The Amazon Echo now lets you play Spotify across all of your Echos Citi has 5 reasons — including tax reform and global growth — why Apple can keep crushing market Facebook will start streaming WWE professional wrestling next month Deregulation, global stock rally to 'propel' Morgan Stanley higher in 2018: KBW analyst A new law bans Kaspersky software from use in the US government Bitcoin 'dwarfs' nearly all bubbles, including 1929 crash: Investor Ken Fisher How 2017 became a turning point for tech giants The biggest risk you face when choosing between a human and a robo-advisor Disney deal with Fox would be a ‘home run’ in its battle against Netflix, Amazon, analyst Ives says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: HON, LLY, AMGN, TM, HD & more Apple's 'innovation complacency' could see it lag Google, Amazon in post-smartphone world, study says Cryptocurrency market now worth $500 billion, more than Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Tesla stock is up 12 percent in a week — but it could be time to pump the brakes Why Donald Trump's Jerusalem move might have made Russia a lot stronger Weekly mortgage applications fall 2.3% as rates rise Apple invests $390 million into Finisar, which makes laser chips for iPhone X and AirPods Leuthold's Doug Ramsey reveals top sector picks, bullish market predictions Tillerson says the US is ready to begin direct talks with North Korea German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse experiences trading disruption Russian court freezes $1.7 billion of Sistema assets at request of Rosneft A top Facebook exec is jumping on the bitcoin bandwagon ECB set to lift its growth outlook as massive bond-buying slowly winds down Swedish fintech start-up iZettle raises $47 million; CEO says 'time will tell' for IPO plans Google's top searches in 2017: Hurricanes, Matt Lauer and Tom Petty Google is blocked in China, but that's not stopping it from opening an AI center there UAE oil giant must build regional 'credibility' ahead of Saudi Aramco IPO next year European markets set to tread water ahead of Fed's decision Founder of a would-be tech powerhouse is blacklisted by China for allegedly disobeying court order Japanese start-up ispace just secured funds for first two lunar missions starting in 2019 China's GDP growth set to plunge to near 30-year low in 2018, ADB warns FBI agents called Trump an 'idiot' during presidential race South Korea may tax capital gains from cryptocurrency trading Japanese e-commerce firm to launch program for tech startups in Singapore I was wrong about bitcoin. Here's why Free money from China comes with strings — as one country's learning the hard way This power couple bought bitcoin in 2013, donated gains to cancer hospital Cramer Remix: What being young and broke taught me about the stock market Companies must have 'a culture of security' to prevent cyberattacks, McAfee CEO says Cramer's charts predict full speed ahead for industrial stocks like Caterpillar, Honeywell Asia markets take cues from a mixed US trading day ahead of Fed decision Cramer finds value-creating, investment-worthy CEOs across industries Novogratz says he would sell litecoin after its surge, sees bitcoin hitting $40k within a few months Here's why bitcoin prices are different on each exchange This start-up is making remote-controlled robots that can do surgery in space Apple’s up 43,000 percent since its IPO, and could soon surpass $1 trillion in market cap MongoDB falls despite earnings beat Why investors should beware stocks getting the bitcoin boost Billionaire investor Druckenmiller: ‘I love Amazon' more than Apple

Technology

How Jack Ma's foresight helped Alibaba become an e-commerce giant

Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma believes that if there’s a change coming, it’s best to prepare early.

That philosophy served Alibaba, now a Chinese e-commerce behemoth, well in its early days fending off competition on its home turf from online marketplace eBay.

“When we see something is coming, we have to prepare now,” Ma told CNBC. “My belief is [that] you have to repair the roof while it is still [sunny].”

When internet commerce in China was still in its nascent stages, eBay became one of the early entrants into the market. It ran a consumer-to-consumer online platform called EachNet that charged users a fee for each transaction.

Alibaba, at that time, was still focused on helping small- and medium-sized companies in China go online to do business.

Ma had “realized that eBay, sooner or later, as it grew in China, would start coming after Alibaba’s customers,” Porter Erisman, a former Alibaba vice president, told CNBC’s “The Brave Ones.

To combat that potential threat from eBay, Ma assembled a small group of Alibaba employees and sent them to work on a secret project: an online marketplace that could directly compete with what eBay was offering. That was how Alibaba built its famous Taobao marketplace that currently handles huge volumes of transactions each day.

Taobao, Erisman said, started free for the first three years and it put pressure on eBay’s pay-per-transaction model. EBay’s reaction was “to put out a press release and say free is not a business model.” But as more buyers and sellers began to move onto Taobao, Erisman said, Alibaba knew that ultimately it could make money.

In nearly two decades since Ma co-founded the company from his apartment in Hangzhou, Alibaba has become a mainstay in the tech world. It has a market capitalization of about $473 billion.

Early in his career, Ma faced a string of rejections, which he said helped to build his mettle as an entrepreneur. “As an entrepreneur, one of the quality I have is that when I’m rejected by people, I get used to them,” Ma said.

The transition from a fledgling business to one of China’s most valuable companies came with its share of ups and downs. In fact, Alibaba initially struggled to raise venture capital funding. One venture investor recently told CNBC that he had turned down an early investment into Alibaba because he was not convinced by their initial business-to-business model.

Ma has previously said that Alibaba was rejected by about 30 venture capitalists before it found a major backer in another tech visionarySoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Then came the dotcom bust and Ma was forced to lay-off staff around the world.

“Alibaba went from this sort of optimistic expansion phase to this somewhat depressing phase of cutting back,” Erisman said. “That was the only time I ever saw him doubt himself, when he was laying off people, and I think for just a moment in time, he even wondered if the company would survive.”

It was then that Ma learned that being a CEO was vastly different from being an English teacher, according to Erisman. “Being a CEO means making the tough decisions and sometimes cutting back in order to allow the company to survive,” he said.

Ma is already thinking about what the future will entail for Alibaba as new technologies and ways of doing business are discovered.

“Next 30 years,” he said, “the technology is going to challenge a lot of job opportunities. People already are unhappy because a lot of machine learning, artificial intelligence are killing a lot of jobs.”

The trade-off, according to Ma, is the improvement in people’s lives as a result of new technologies.

To prepare for that inevitable change, when technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning become a mainstay, Alibaba earlier this week said it will investment more than $15 billion over the next three years into technological research and development.

“What Alibaba wants to do in the next 10-20 years is to enable the innovation of traditional business,” Ma said.

Source: Tech CNBC
How Jack Ma's foresight helped Alibaba become an e-commerce giant

Comments are closed.