5 quotes from Jack Ma at the Belt and Road Summit

Jack Ma rose to become China’s richest man as Alibaba’s share price continues to grow, Forbes reported on Sunday. In a Forbes report last week, Ma’s wealth was worth USD 30.9 billion. On Sunday, Ma made a live streaming broadcast and spoke with netizens while he was in Beijing for the Belt and Road summit. Here are five quotes by Jack Ma from the live streaming session on e-commerce, talents, and more.

Held on May 14 and 15, China’s first inaugural Belt and Road summit was attended by top business executives, government officials, and world leaders including China’s President Xi Jinping in the hope of identifying new business opportunities in countries along the Belt and Road. Xi hopes that the summit will bolster China’s global leadership ambitions in light of U.S. President Donald Trump’s promotion of “America First” and questions surrounding existing global free trade deals.


Ma believes that China is the world leader in terms of payments, especially mobile payments.

1.“We did a good job with Alipay. Most importantly, we are sharing [our technology] with the rest of the world. It is important for other developing countries to have the same technology. Not only have we made huge investments, but we also send our technicians and engineers to those regions,” said Ma.

A monthly shopping festival like Singles’ Day?

Ma stressed that the Singles’ Day shopping festival poses lots of challenges for technology support and operations. Every November 11, the one-day shopping festival sees phenomenal transactions on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform. Alibaba made new sales records of RMB 120.7 billion (USD 17.8 billion) on Nov. 11, 2016.

2.“It’s not possible to have one festival [like this] each month. Instead, we’re considering how to get more companies involved and not have consumers stay up late to buy things during the online carnival. We need to continue to innovate,” answered Ma.

24-hour delivery

Delivery is key for e-commerce platforms and crucial for online buyer satisfaction. Jack Ma has set goals for Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics arm.

3.“Cainiao aims to achieve 24-hour delivery to anywhere in China. If you buy something online today, you should be able to receive a parcel the next day whether you are in Beijing or Xinjiang. On top of that, we aim to bring Cainiao’s delivery speed, service, and technology to every other country in the world including countries like Cambodia and Haiti,” said Ma.

Cainiao delivery robot (Photo from Baidu Images)
Cainiao delivery robot (Photo from Baidu Images)

Recruiting graduates

Some netizens raised questions that Alibaba, as a tech giant, does not recruit many young graduates. Ma confirmed that Alibaba recruits no more than 300 graduates every year, accounting for less than 10 percent of all new employees each year.

4.“The reason is that if tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu recruit more graduates, top talents from prestigious universities like Tsinghua and Peking will all work for tech giants. Small and medium companies will no longer get a chance to have talents work for them,” explained Ma.

Welcoming criticism

Ma discloses that Alibaba employees can express their opinions and criticism on the company’s intranet. Ma said Alibaba employees even criticise him, though not anonymously.

5.“This is how Alibaba’s regulations came into place [after opinions were expressed and discussed]. It is okay to criticise, but the person must also offer suggestions and solutions,” said Ma.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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