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Jack Ma Sees More Hidden Treasures for Alibaba
Aspire | 05 August 2015
By: Chen Xushuang
Articles (26) Profile

Jack Ma, chairman of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, is currently the wealthiest man in China, with a net worth of US$19.5 billion. Many also see him as the most resourceful, dynamic, and innovative CEO in all of China. A little lesser known is the fact that he is also a kung fu novel fanatic who started his career as a humble English teacher. Sounds like a legend? So does Alibaba’s immense success from scratch. Even amidst speculations of China’s economic downturn, its key investment highlights that suggest why the company is still attractive to investors.

(Image from

Jack Ma’s “10-year Development Strategies” for Alibaba

Here is a list of plans and strategies Jack Ma has for Alibaba, which may offer some insights into the company’s future.

1.       Building  a National Enterprise

Ma explained that Alibaba is no ordinary private enterprise, but neither is it a state-owned enterprise. It seeks to position itself as China’s “National enterprise”, just like how Samsung is to South Korea, Mercedes-Benz is to Germany, and Google and Apple are to the US. Considering that Alibaba is the world’s largest online commerce company, this vision is already fulfilled to a certain extent.

2.       Building a “Culture Economy”

The Hollywood culture industry has contributed to approximately 3 percent of US GDP, and Ma visions something similar for Alibaba—A cultural economy that belongs to China. Earlier this year, Alibaba has bought 60 percent of movie producer China Vision Media, which it renamed Alibaba Pictures Group. Following which Ma has also visited Hollywood with Jet Li and held close conversations with multiple studios there. Apart from Ma’s personal interest in the Hollywood-style innovation, there was also clearly a sign of Alibaba’s business interest in the entertainment industry.

(Image from: The Hollywood Reporter)

3.       Building a Sports Economy

According to Jack Ma, Alibaba is interested to be a player in the sports economy, but that is not to be confused with the sports industry or sports careers themselves. Nevertheless, Ma foresees that the income brought about by the sports industry would “exceed expectations” in future. He also feels that the higher the proportion contributed to the country’s GDP by the culture and sports economy, the healthier the country’s economy is.

 4.       Going Global

Ma said that in the next five years, globalisation would be Alibaba’s most important challenge. He hopes to gather more than 2 billion consumers in the following years, but this strategic goal comes with challenges too, such as that of coming up with a globalized payment system. This means that Alipay must support simultaneous transactions of many currencies on its TMall E-commerce platform. However, many countries are still lagging behind logistics-wise, thus presenting further challenges to going global.

5.       Going Rural

The rural regions present huge opportunities for Alibaba as well, and “Taobao Villages” have mushroomed nationwide. In 2013, the rural population was 629 million, and retail sales in the rural areas registered around 3.19 trillion CNY, while county towns accounted for 9 trillion CNY in sales. Ma sees the e-commercialisation of rural regions as an unstoppable trend, but similar to the globalisation challenge, “going rural” faces logistical problems, especially in remote areas with sparse population and undeveloped transport systems.

(Image from:

 6.       Big Data

Ma visions Alibaba to be a player in big data as well, and in view of its current development, it does have quite a lot of potential. For instance, Taobao and TMall handle large numbers of transactions daily, which provides ample data for future development. Ma is also creating a strong “Ali Ecosystem” through Aliyun (Alibaba’s Cloud Computing Unit), covering areas including finance, e-commerce, mobile phones, smart homes, and cars, etc.

Alibaba’s strategies and developments offer a lot of opportunities for investors, but at the end of the day, Jack Ma insisted that being customer-focused is the top priority.

“The ones supporting you are not the shareholders. Not government. It’s the customers, the people, the employees,” he said. “Focus on the customer. Focus on making employees happy. And focus on integrity to everything you’re committed. That is the only thing.”


As a Communications Studies graduate specialising in journalism, Xushuang is keen to observe and explore issues that readers want to know more about, and to deliver quality content through engaging writing.

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