Ma coaches African en­trepreneurs

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By PAN ZHONGMING in Nairobi, Kenya panzhong­ming@chi­ He Wei con­trib­uted to this story.

Jack Ma, the founder and ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Alibaba Group, en­cour­aged young African en­trepreneurs and small busi­nesses to take part in global trade on Thurs­day dur­ing his first visit to the con­ti­nent.

He spoke with the en­trepreneurs in Nailab, the tech­ni­cal in­cu­ba­tor in Nairobi.

Ma also is a spe­cial ad­viser for young en­trepreneurs and small busi­nesses to the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Trade and Devel­op­ment.

“I come here to­day not to sell Chi­nese prod­ucts but to share with you the en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit,” Ma said. “What is im­por­tant is that you re­al­ize your dream step by step. Make sure your em­ploy­ees and your clients are happy.”

Ma shared his ideas and ex­pe­ri­ences with the African en­trepreneurs and ex­plored op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in global trade. He said he as­pires to make it eas­ier for young en­trepreneurs and small busi­ness, par­tic­u­larly in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, to take part in global trade.

“Ma’s speech is in­spir­ing,” said Bev­erly Mbeke, owner of Ur­bane Madame, an in­fo­graphic de­sign com­pany in Nairobi. “I learned to be brave in busi­ness and ideas on how to gain ac­cess to a big mar­ket.”

“It is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to meet with one of the great­est busi­ness lead­ers of the mod­ern world,” said Daniel Yu, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Soko Watch, a small copy of Alibaba in Kenya. “He came in Kenya to high­light the op­por­tu­nity in the global ecosys­tem. I am very ex­cited to be build­ing my own small busi­ness here and I hope one day I will be as big as Alibaba as well.”

With glob­al­iza­tion as its long-term strat­egy, Alibaba Group, the world’s largest re­tailer, aims to serve 2 bil­lion con­sumers around the world and help cre­ate 100 mil­lion jobs in two decades.

In the past, glob­al­iza­tion ben­e­fited just 20 per­cent of the world — the de­vel­oped coun­tries and large en­ter­prises. But fu­ture glob­al­iza­tion should bring ben­e­fits to the re­main­ing 80 per­cent, par­tic­u­larly by en­abling small and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises, he said.

“We be­lieve Alibaba’s ex­pe­ri­ence in China can be ap­plied glob­ally, giv­ing all SMEs the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate and com­pete in a trans­par­ent and fair mar­ket­place,” Ma said. “Fu­ture eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion will al­low con­sumers ev­ery­where to ac­cess a truly global pur­chas­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Ma was ex­pected to be part of a busi­ness roundtable hosted by the Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance and the UN con­fer­ence. Af­ter, he will give a speech at the Uni­ver­sity of Nairobi.

Ma’s trip to Africa also will take him to Rwanda, where the YouthCon­nekt Africa Sum­mit will be held in the cap­i­tal Ki­gali with the theme “Re­al­iz­ing Africa’s Youth Po­ten­tial”.


Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, vis­ited Nailab, the tech­ni­cal in­cu­ba­tor in Nairobi, with the head of the United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Trade and Devel­op­ment, Mukhisa Ki­tuy (left) on Thurs­day. He spoke to en­trepreneurs about the global econ­omy.

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