On 24th March 2018 – 36 entrepreneurs including myself from 7 different countries made our way to Alibaba campus in Hangzhou to learn more about its business units and the impact it has created for the Chinese society as a whole.
It’s amazing to see how Alibaba has literally changed lives and provided an ecosystem for small and medium businesses to thrive.
The course also allowed me to remove myself from company operations just a little bit and focus on a more macro view.
Something entrepreneurs probably need to do from time to time – you get too engrossed with the nitty-gritty that you forget to look at the bigger picture.
Key notes, learnings, experiences and observations throughout the programme:
1) Alibaba has transformed itself from a from a simple B2B e-commerce platform in 1999 to a juggernaut spanning across e-commerce, finance, logistics, cloud, technology, entertainment, media and health.
2) Quite simply, they have built an ECOSYSTEM of platforms to accomplish their mission of “make it easy to do business, anytime, anywhere.”
3) They no longer see themselves as an e-commerce company, rather a data sharing platform. Data is the new oil as Jack Ma said.
4) It might seem that they run completely unrelated businesses under one roof – but if you look at it closely – they are all complementary products made for the SMEs. For example, SMEs can use Alibaba.com / AliExpress to sell outside China, Taobao to sell within China, 1688.com to source products wholesale, Ant Financial to grab quick financing, promote/market products via Weibo + Youku + Alimama and power company websites with AliCloud.