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)

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.

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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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Please join me in giving a very warm Stanford welcome to my friend, Jack Ma.

So, we’ll go to about 30, 35 minutes where I have some questions that I prepared for Jack. He hasn’t seen them. So hopefully, we’ll make it somewhat entertaining. And then, Alicia, where is Alicia? She’ll wave at me, and then we’ll do some Q and A. We have mics set up, and I’ll talk about that when we get to it. And it is a fireside chat.

JACK MA: Where is my fire?

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