MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., a famous Chinese e-commerce giant, has exploded the myth that China can't innovate.
"Everything about Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, seems larger than life. Its initial public offering, slated for Sept. 19, is expected to be the biggest IPO in US history, raising possibly $25 billion. The company is also China’s largest retailer, not to mention the biggest e-commerce player in the world, dwarfing US companies like eBay and Amazon.com," Time reports.
Wall Street is thrilled by the new business opportunity; the Alibaba Group IPO is expected to become the largest IPO ever. It's unsurprising, since "Alibaba is the largest online merchant in the world, with $240 billion in merchandise sold in 2013," Forbes stresses.
Allegedly, Alibaba's success story started in 1995 when Jack Ma, a poor Chinese school teacher, saw the Internet for the first time while on a business trip in the US. Since that time, Ma had been experimenting to create a convenient Internet platform with an efficient search engine.
Business Insider cites Ma as saying: "I was scrawny when I was young, but I was a terrific fighter. I was never afraid of opponents who were bigger than I."
Indeed, Jack Ma, who dubbed himself a "Yangtze Crocodile," persevered stubbornly with his idea of creating an internet company, although his first business project, "China Pages", was unsuccessful.
However, one could hardly imagine that Alibaba – "a company which started out [of] Jack Ma's apartment in 1999" – would turn into "a technology colossus," worth more than prominent American IT giants such as eBay and Hewlett-Packard, notes the New York Times. "Under his leadership, Alibaba has become not just the dominant force in China’s e-commerce but also a symbol of the country’s breathtaking economic rise," the media outlet stresses.
Alibaba.com provided exporters with convenient internet tools and a platform where they may upload their product listings, which buyers can then browse. The platform immediately attracted the attention of retailers and manufacturers from all around the world. Thus, by October 1999 Alibaba.com "had raised $5 million from Goldman Sachs and $20 million from SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company that also invests in technology companies," Business Insider underscores.
The company has become a symbol of China's swift economic rise. It has about 250 million buyers and sellers in China alone, while PayPal, a leading international e-commerce business, can boast only 110 million users.
"Of course, China has an incomparable advantage of scale, with a domestic market of 1.3 billion people and the world's biggest export machine. Chinese government protection for national champions helps, too," the Wall Street Journal explains. However, the success story of Alibaba has ultimately exploded the myth about China's "backwardness" and inability to innovate.
What is the secret of the Alibaba Group Holding phenomenon? Business Insider cites a letter Jack Ma wrote to his employees: "We know well we haven’t survived because our strategies are farsighted and brilliant, or because our execution is perfect, but because for 15 years we have persevered in our mission of 'making it easier to do business across the world,' because we have insisted on a 'customer first' value system, because we have persisted in believing in the future, and because we have insisted that normal people can do extraordinary things."
Experts stress that China intends to become a global science and technology leader by 2050. The state is investing in "seven strategic emerging industries," including biotechnology, new-energy vehicles, and high-level equipment, the Wall Street Journal notes. Although western experts often express skepticism regarding China's technological ambitions, Jack Ma's Alibaba project has demonstrated that China evidently has great prospects.
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