Alibaba.com: A Smiling Community with a Dream
Since its humble beginnings in 1999, when it was launched by Jack Ma and 17 other co-founders, Alibaba.com has become the world’s largest online business-to-business global trading marketplace, with 2.5 million and 14 million registered users in its international and Chinese domestic marketplaces respectively (refer to Appendix 1 for key development milestones). In 2004, the Alibaba websites boasted an estimated combined transaction volume of more than US$4.5 billion. Alibaba.com also owns and operates Taobao.com, a business-toconsumer and consumer-to-consumer marketplace; Alipay, an online payment system in China; and Yahoo China, which it acquired in October, 2005. Alibaba.com currently has more than 4,600 employees with an average age of 26. It was selected by China’s CCTV as one of the country’s best employers in 2005 and was recently named one of China’s Top Employers 2007 by CRF China. In just seven years, Alibaba.com has achieved award after award in recognition of its achievement and impact on e-commerce, including “Best of the Web” by Forbes Magazine for seven consecutive years, the most popular B2B website by Far Eastern Economic Review, and other awards, including China Excellent Business Website and China Best Commerce Website. Alibaba.com is frequently quoted as one of the top five websites in the world along with Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and AOL, by domestic and international media. Jack Ma: Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Alibaba.com
Jack Ma is one of the first entrepreneurs to develop e-commerce in China. He and his team have achieved many ‘firsts’ in the area of Chinese Internet Trade. He founded the first internet commercial website in China, and created a B2B marketplace platform to all small and medium-sized enterprises in Asia and around the world. He promoted the “Trust Pass” plan on the website, which created the world’s first on-line credit platform for companies. Under Jack Ma’s leadership, the Alibaba B2B websites have attracted more than 17 million registered members in 220 countries globally, with daily postings exceeding 35 million, making Alibaba.com the most active Internet market place and B2B community worldwide. Since the inception of the company, more than 400 media have reported about Alibaba and Jack Ma, in dozens of languages. In addition to numerous awards presented to Alibaba.com, Jack Ma was also selected by the World Economic Forum as one of the 100 Young Global Leaders in 2001; was named Business Leader of 2001 by Asia Commerce Association of USA; and was featured on the covers of Forbes Magazine, Nikkei Magazine, and Fortune (China) Magazine. In 2004, Jack Ma was honored as one of the “Top 10 Economic Personas of the Year” by CCTV. In 2005, Fortune Magazine ranked him one of the “25 Most Powerful Businesspeople in Asia” and this year Business 2.0 ranked him 15th among "50 Who Matter Now" and Silicon.com ranked him 11th among its top 50 “Agenda Setters 2006.”
Business and Talent Requirements for Alibaba’s Success As a high-tech service company, Alibaba.com builds its business success and rapid growth on entrepreneurship, innovation, and service. Says Jack Ma: The company will remain a ‘start-up’ no matter how long it has been in existence. What ever has been stable, I will disrupt that stability. The company needs to continue to innovate and grow. I want the employees to believe that we are a small company, no matter how big we get. I believe we can create a system and culture to perpetuate this culture of entrepreneurial and start-up spirit.
To fuel the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, along with a service attitude, Jack Ma is looking for people with the following characteristics: 1) People with a dream. “Don’t let your colleagues work for you. They need to work for their dreams!” If people don’t believe in the dream and join the company purely for money, they won’t stay long (refer to Appendix 2 for Alibaba’s vision,...
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