China's internet king eyes world domination
Monday 13 September 2010
one was a former champion bodybuilder and unstoppable cyborg on the big screen. The other is a diminutive former teacher turned China's small screen wunderkind. Who now packs the bigger punch is open to question.
Jack Ma, the founder of the world's biggest online business marketplace Alibaba, has his eyes set on global expansion and is already posing a strong challenge to the trading behemoth, eBay. And in a symbol of China's growing economic and entrepreneurial clout, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California, home to many of the US's hi-tech industries, travelled to the scenic east China city of Hangzhou for a piece of the action, with a high-profile appearance at the weekend with Mr Ma to set the seal on the entrepreneur's rapid rise to global prominence.
Alibaba's online marketplace Taobao.com now enjoys more than 80 per cent market share in China, and has more than 53 million users in 240 countries. Mr Ma dominates China, the world's biggest online market with 384 million users, and is now looking to expand his empire with a strong push into the fast-emerging economies of Russia, India and Brazil.
He is also eyeing the US, and and Mr Schwarzenegger wants to make sure that California profits from these ambitions, hence his decision to appear at Mr Ma's annual Alifest conference in the former English teacher's home town. The Governor said: "The internet is bringing the world together and making starting a business easier because it gives even small companies a low-cost way to reach suppliers and customers all over the world."
Ailibaba.com has bought two major Californian e-commerce companies, Vendio and Auctiva, and is busy expanding its presence in the state. The two companies also give Alibaba more muscle to take on some of the world's mightiest electronic commerce companies.
The day before Alifest, Mr Ma had hosted eBay chief John Donahoe, who paid his respects to the new kid on the global e-business block who looks likely to dominate huge areas of the sector. Mr Ma said: "Every time I meet John I think we should do something together. We are competitors in some ways, but have same dream, same mission and same goal to help entrepreneurs. I believe one day we'll work very close to each other." EBay has 86 million users.
Mr Donahoe is keenly aware that Alibaba is shaping up to be serious competition for eBay globally, and that striking an alliance with Alibaba now might be the best way to hold off greater problems down the road. "I have enormous respect for what you've created," he told Mr Ma. "Alibaba Group is one of the world's greatest success stories."
Jack Ma, listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, personifies the New China created by three decades of reform. An English graduate, he started his company in 1999, fiddling about on a dodgy internet connection that took nearly four hours to print out a page. Now his Taobao online retail site has 190 million customers in China and had transaction volume of nearly £19bn last year.
"Entrepreneurs of the world it is time to unite," said US ambassador Jon Huntsman at the event. "Jack Ma is creating the China Dream. The US-China relationship is the most important relationship in the world today."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...