Globalisation is the future, says Jack Ma
By Sharmila Ganapathy-Wallace March 24, 2017
- Need to give globalisation another 20-30 years for it to be more inclusive
- Globalisation should be driven by businesspeople not large corporations
ALIBABA Group’s Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) is all about enabling global trade and globalisation, according to its executive chairman and founder Jack Ma (pic).
He called globalisation ‘a baby’, which for the past 20 years has been driven by large corporations. “We need to give it another 20 to 30 years to make it (globalisation) more inclusive,” he tells reporters during a press conference at the Global Transformation Forum 2017.
He adds that the eWTP’s purpose is to help small businesses and create more working opportunities for young people via globalisation.
“In the next 20 to 30 years, globalisation should be driven by businesspeople,” he says, noting that in Malaysia for instance, 97% of businesses are small businesses.
According to Ma, Alibaba’s e-hub in Malaysia is for small businesses to do exporting. “We want to make it easy for small businesses to import and export and ensure that they can use big data technology to do business,” he says of the e-hub Alibaba is establishing under the newly-launched Digital Free Trade Zone in Malaysia.
He adds that the eWTP will make the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road initiative ‘more lively’ and that the initiative will pay attention to regions like South America and Africa, later this year. The focus will be on countries with a large young population and small businesses, he shares.
When asked about the technology race between Chinese companies Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba, Ma replies: “We think that in the future, profits will come from technology. We consider ourselves a data company, not an e-commerce company. We invest in the future, in young people and small businesses, we think our technology is designed for them.”
He adds that companies should compete on the basis on who can make their technology more inclusive.
“Every technology that we’ve invested in is to improve small businesses and help young people. We want to invest in technology that people can use,” he opines.
On the eWTP hub in Malaysia, Ma stresses that the e-hub in Malaysia will belong to Malaysians and will be operated by Malaysians and that the eWTP is about helping local businesses thrive.
To a question on when Alipay will arrive on Malaysian shores, Ma replies: “We have high expectations, we consider that Malaysia should be a cashless society and the prime minister has supported this idea.”
When pressed for a timeline, he says: “Mobile payment is not about financing only, it is about inclusive financing. It should not be very long, it is part of the key project we want to launch in Malaysia.”
Earlier, during his talk, Ma noted that the energy of this century is data. “Without data nothing can be done. If you prepare, and believe in this technology revolution, start to do it now. What you do today is not decided by yesterday but of 15 years of effort.”
“This transformation is moving much faster than we thought. Today’s white collar jobs will disappear. There will be no data analysts in the next 10 years, machines will take the place of them. Machines will be more powerful and smarter than people.”
“Let’s change education, the way we teach kids. Not only knowledge, but machines can calculate faster and memorise better. If you want to compete with machines, teach kids culture and values,” he advises.
He adds that education should focus on imagination, creativity and teamwork. “We should teach our kids music and sports. It’s about competition of wisdom and experience, not competition of knowledge,” he opines.
Entrepreneurs are social scientists plus artists, Ma says. “The reason I succeeded is not because I am that smart, but because I understand what society needs. If you solve the problem for your province, you’re a provincial company. Entrepreneurs will transform into netpreneurs. Ninety percent of business in the next 20-30 years will be online.
“Today using the Internet, you can reach other part of the world and create value for people. Next 30 years it is the world for companies that can use the Internet, leverage on technology even if you don’t know technology,” he enthuses.