Ma: Don’t just embrace change, evoke it
Founder of Alibaba shares insights with fellow Zhejiang entrepreneurs in Shanghai about the need to globalize businesses and how the future will be defined by innovation
During the 30th anniversary celebration of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai branch, Ma Yun, the founder of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, appealed to businessmen from his home province to adopt a global perspective in order to create value-added products that can be successful in the digital era.
The Nov 20 event, which took place in Shanghai, drew around 2,000 Zhejiang entrepreneurs, government officials and professionals to join in the discussions about the current status and future prospects of businesses in the Chinese province.
“New Zhejiang entrepreneurs should be aware of the importance of globalization, the network that covers the entire world, instead of just internationalization, which is the connection between China and the world,” said Ma, the chairman of the General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs, during the closing speech at the event.
Ma spoke about the need to “repair the roof on a sunny day”, referring to how companies should implement strategic changes when they are achieving success, instead of when they are facing a crisis.
“We cannot simply embrace change or adapt to it. We need to be the ones to drive reform in the revolution. On the world stage, we need to do our best and showcase our abilities instead of fight over resources, using not just IQ and EQ, but also LQ, the love quotient. We need to think more about our competitors in order to earn their respect,” he added.
Looking ahead to the future, Ma said that China’s Internet Plus strategy will prove to be a game changer for all industries as innovation, instead of manufacturing, gradually becomes the country’s main growth engine.
“We’ve moved from human-made to machinery over the past two decades and now we are going to transform machines to be humanlike in the next 20 years,” said Ma.
“The scale of enterprises will be tremendously reduced as business will be forced to apply advanced technology, customized products and innovative thoughts for future development.”
There were just 33 members and 84 registered Zhejiang enterprises in Shanghai when the branch was first launched in 1986. Today, the Shanghai branch has more than 15,000 members in the chamber and 600,000 registered Zhejiang enterprises, including more than 500 listed companies and industrial leaders that have a combined annual profit exceeding 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion).
There are currently six million Zhejiang merchants operating businesses all over China, and one-tenth of them are based in Shanghai.
“Zhejiang businesses need to make more investments in research and innovation in order to enhance the quality of our products and services, and to remain successful in the market,” said Guo Guangchang, the chairman of Fosun International Ltd and the chairman of the Shanghai branch of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce, about the need to keep up with the times.
“We should also prove our abilities as Zhejiang businesses and boost the local economy, create more job opportunities and create value with our merger and acquisitions or investments in other countries,” added Guo.
Fosun is regarded as one of the leading Chinese entities when it comes to globalization, having been involved in a number of highprofile acquisitions over the years. It owns resort operator Club Med, the skyscraper 28 Liberty Street in New York and entertainment giant Cirque du Soleil.
Successful businessmen and experts also talked about the prospects of seeing Zhejiang entrepreneurs step onto the world stage during the 2016 Shanghai Forum, which was part of the celebrations.
Zhou Chengjian, the chairman
Ma Yun, the founder of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, is arguably the best-known Zhejiang businessman in China.
Famous business people at the 30th anniversary celebration of the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce’s Shanghai branch.