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Question No.

Would Alibaba have been as successful today without the leadership of someone like Jack Ma?
No, there is no doubt that Jack Ma has accomplished a lot and many views his company as the
B2B standard in China and maybe the world. On finding no Chinese beers in his first online
search for "beer", Ma saw an opportunity for a company to fill that space by providing an online
marketplace. Alibaba was born. It was his continuous efforts to create and educate new users,
and to persistently push the Chinese government for greater Internet reforms to spur the growth
of the entire Chinese B2B industry. Hence it has been Ma’s vision that has ultimately shaped the
evolution of B2B in China. He is typical of very successful self-made Asian entrepreneurs who
approach life from a very different point of view than the more conservative western business
people. His personal charms wooed not only China but admirers from top of the world. He
headed the first government website by the name of Chinese ministry of foreign trade and
economic cooperation. In 1999 the core team from the ministry followed Ma as he took his
mission to next level by founding Alibaba.com. He was able to attract web stars such as John
Wu, the chief designer of Yahoo as Alibaba’s chief technology officer. Despite google reputation
as the most innovative company Jack Ma believes that Chinese Internet market will change the
direction and pave the way for new types of progress in the research market. After all Jack Ma
can be credited with being responsible for many first ones in China. He started a company to
help Chinese firms get on the net. It was Jack Ma who was the first entrepreneur to develop
ecommerce in China. He founded the first Internet commercial website in China, online directory
of Chinese firms. He created a B2B marketplace platform to help all small and medium sized
enterprises in Asia and around the world. As Jack Ma says: “there are more shrimps in the ocean
than whales.” This makes Alibaba different from US ecommerce companies who mainly focus
on big corporations. Moreover, he promoted the “Trust Pass” plan on the Web Site, which
created the world’s first online credit platform for companies. Ma hopes in the future to derive
Alibaba’s revenue and ultimately its profit from add on features. Shipping, trade financing,
onsite inspections, quality control services and insurance are a few of the services that could earn
money for the site. Ma also hopes to make money by offering a premium service to members and
through advertising and promotions. He also plans to start sharing in the revenues made by the
insurers, shippers and others who benefit from the trade generated on his website and to charge
members for online advertising and fancy services. Ma wants the website to be both global and
horizontal across all products. It was his believe that Alibaba will be in one of the top three
internet companies in the next ten years. Basically, Ma's philosophy consists of two steps:
1. Hire people who are smarter than you.
2. Focus on getting them to work together.
In a world where most would rather be known as a leader than a manager, there's a lesson to be
learned from Ma's philosophy.