Home » Jack Ma, Alibaba Group: Stanford GSB 2015 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (Transcript)

Jack Ma, Alibaba Group: Stanford GSB 2015 Entrepreneurial Company of the Year (Transcript)

Jack Ma


GEOFF YANG: Hi everybody Welcome. I want to welcome everybody here in the audience and everybody online to the 2015 Encore Award presentation. I’m Geoff Yang and I’m the chair to the selection committee. And on behalf of the Graduate School of Business, we are very grateful for your coming to this evening to honor this year’s winner, the Alibaba Group.

The Peninsula Chapter of the Stanford Business School Alumni Association created the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1977 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit of companies springing up in Silicon Valley in the late 70’s. The first honor was given to the CEO of Rome Corporation, Ken Ashman, in 1977 after five years of honoring CEOs of innovative company, the award was changed to the Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award, and since then 37 companies have received this award. Apple actually won it twice, first in 1981 and then second time in 2005.

And tonight Alibaba Group will be the 38th recipient award winner and the first international winner of the award, so congratulations.

I’d actually like to take a moment to recognize some of the past winners of this award who are in the audience tonight or around campus. Jerry Yang of course who was going to be speaking tonight. The founder of our 9th — Founder of Yahoo, winner 1998; Chuck Schwab, founder of Charles Schwab and Company, winner in 1999; Reed Hoffman, founder of the 2012 winner LinkedIn, and Reed Hastings, Founder of Netflix, last year’s winner. Thank you.

Before we get started I just want to thank a few people for supporting this event, in addition to all of you who have come here tonight, and that is Catalyst Partners, Benchmark Capital, Evercore Partners, General Atlantic, Red Point Ventures and Sierra Ventures. Thank you for your support.

And then finally on the thanks I want to thank the selection committee that worked tirelessly to help with this selection: Peter Fenton at Benchmarks, Stu Francis at Evercore, Chuck Halloway from the Stanford GSB Faculty, Jeff Jordan from Andreessen Horrowitz; Steve Jurvetson from Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Joe Lacob of Kleiner, Perkins and the Warriors; Frank Quattrone of Qatalyst; Dave Sze at Greylock and Peter Wendell at Sierra. Thank you for your help.

Now onto tonight’s program and tonight’s winner.

Let me tell you a little bit about how we select winners and let me tell you about why we selected Alibaba. So each year the company picks a company which has distinguished itself in creating and fostering entrepreneurial spirit beyond all others. We look for companies that invent and reinvent themselves and industries. We look for global leaders in important spaces that shape landscapes. And we look for leadership teams where founders continue to drive achievement and our entrepreneurial spirit. And we think Alibaba does all that and more.

Alibaba group was founded in 1999 and headquartered in Hangzhou, China; is the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company. Its mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere and it’s certainly done that and on a massive scale.

As you’ll hear Alibaba has 10 million active sellers on the platform and 367 million active buyers which is more than the population of the US and Canada combined. In the last fiscal year, the GMV in Alibaba was almost $400 billion, up 46% from the year prior, and a fun few facts that I recently learned: 86% of all goods purchased on mobile phones in China were done on Alibaba. They created Singles Day which is celebrated on November 11th, 1-1-1-1, which is now the world’s largest shopping day. In a single 24 hour period, Alibaba saw 9.3 billion in sales which is more than 3.5 times the total E-commerce sales in the US on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

On an average day, 30 million Alibaba packages are delivered which is more than the largest day the United States Postal Service ever experienced, and last September the company debuted the largest IPO in the world at $25 billion. So there’s a lot of largest and biggest which is pretty impressive for a company that is still very young and innovative.

And finally, its founder, Jack Ma, is widely considered one of the most innovative and thoughtful entrepreneurs in the world today or possibly ever. So why do we pick Alibaba? That’s why.

Tonight we’re very fortunate to have Jack interviewed by our mutual good friend and renowned internet entrepreneur Jerry Yang. Jerry needs little introduction but deserves this and much more. He’s a Stanford BS and MS grad and co-founded Yahoo in 1995 while working on his PhD at Stanford and we wonder, along with his mother, if he’ll ever finish. He served in various management roles, including CEO and Chief Yahoo and as a board member until 2012. Among other things, he also led Yahoo’s investment, now famous investment Alibaba, which I hope he’ll discuss at some point tonight. Jerry has served as a Director of Yahoo and Cisco, and currently serves on the boards of Workday, Lenovo, and Alibaba. He and his wife Akiko are well known philanthropists and generous benefactors to Stanford where he recently retired from the board of directors and as vice chair.

Jerry and I have been friends for more than 20 years, and if I had a dollar for every time someone called me Jerry, I too would donate a building to Stanford. Please join me in welcoming Jerry Yang.

JERRY YANG: Thank you Jeff. It’s my honor to be here and to introduce the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, my friend Jack Ma. As Jack likes to say himself, he’s 100% made in China. But his story embodies very much the American dream. An English teacher with little means and no connections, Jack built Alibaba from the ground up. He was born in Hangzhou, the Chinese city that was made famous by Nixon’s visit in 1972. And he learned English by riding his bike to a hotel, I didn’t know this, every day for nine years and volunteering as a tour guide practicing with tourists.

Then on his first trip to the US, 20 years ago in 1995, Jack first saw the internet and realized the potential to connect people within and outside of China. He founded Alibaba with a group of friends in his apartment in 1999. From the beginning Jack and his co-founders shared a focus on the small business and entrepreneurial community. It was their collective belief that by leveraging technology it will bring small businesses across China into the global economy.

Now Jack is an unlikely tech entrepreneur in that he openly admits he’s never written a line of code, but he is a visionary in every sense of the word. In just fifteen years, Alibaba has become the largest online and mobile commerce company, as Jeff mentioned. And not even Jack could have predicted the change he would bring to China, creating jobs and prosperity for millions in the urban and rural China, empowering millions of entrepreneurs and changing the way that people live. Not only live, but shop and work online in China.

And before I bring Jack up, we’re going to run a brief video. Can we roll the video please?

[Video clip: (voiceover) Alibaba was created in China, and founded on a simple belief that small businesses are the bedrock of a prosperous society. And that everyone who wants to do business should have the chance to succeed. We built what has become the world’s largest online marketplace where millions of small businesses can connect with their consumers. And where everything they need to start, run and grow their business is only a click away. We helped entrepreneurs thrive in China, brought millions of people into the economy, and transformed how people shop, work, and live. Our efforts help to create jobs, spur innovation, and drive the growth of a new middle class.

Although Alibaba was born in China, it was created for the world. And now, we’re ready to help small businesses prosper in every corner of the globe. We’re building the infrastructure of commerce for the future using technology to break down barriers, and expand the boundaries of what’s possible. So that some day anyone who wants to do business anywhere will be able to connect with people everywhere. – Video ends]

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