Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built
By: Duncan Clark
An insider's account of Alibaba, China's best e-commerce company and B2B mall, and Jack Ma, it's powerful and passionate founder and leader.
Key concepts, main ideas, principles, and information learned:
*Jack Ma was born on September 10, in Hangzhou. This year is the Year of The Dragon.
*He was named Yun (meaning cloud) Ma (meaning horse).
*His parents are Ma Laifa and Cui Wencai.
*Every day, Jack would practice his English on tourists and made friends like David Morley. He would do this rain or shine.
*He is a former teacher.
* Attended the not prestigious but local Hangzhou Teachers College.
*Jack is married to Zhang Ying (English name is Cathy).
*Had two not very successful companies before Alibaba, Hope Translation Agency and China Pages.
*Alibaba started in a Lakeside Gardens apartment in 1999. * Jack raised money from Goldman and Sachs and SoftBank, but he gave away a lot of his equity. *Jack's charisma and unique talking style get him his own way, and people describe it as "Jack Magic". His face has become an icon in China. He is an expert at communicating. *Alibaba Mantra: Customers first, employees second, shareholders third. *Jack treats his employees well and encourages teamwork and problem-solving.
* Alibaba is a name that is popular, travels well and carries the "open-sesame" imagery because Jack hoped to achieve an opening for the small and medium-sized enterprises he was targeting.
*Joe Tsai is Jack's right-hand man.
*Jack speaks Mandarin and English.
*He is trying to move away from a "Made in China" past to a "Bought in China" future. He wants to put his country out into the world again.
*Taobao and Tmall are Alibaba's e-commerce sites and marketplaces with consumers, which are very popular in China. * Advertisers are also on Taobao. *Alibaba makes 10 billion dollars in revenue each year. *The equivalent to Cyber Monday is called Single's Day and is also in November. *Tmall includes brand names and big retailers and is the seventh most visited website in China. *Taobao is free to use and buy on. *You can chat with a vendor and you can find almost everything. *More than 40 percent of consumers buy their groceries online in China, but only 10 percent in the United States. *Alibaba caters toward everyone. *During the burst of the dot com bubble, Alibaba survived and made it through, but problems began. *Jack Ma raised money even when he did not need it so he would be prepared, and used different strategies, and worked around problems.
*It faced Yahoo and got back their shares in the company because originally, Yahoo invested $1 billion for 30 percent of Alibaba back in 2005 with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Jack Ma.
*Yahoo infamously sold half of its stake back to Alibaba in 2012 through a deal that valued the shares at $13. Just two years later, Alibaba went public in a record-breaking U.S. IPO. Shares were $68 at the bell, and today they are worth around $181, so Yahoo missed out on an even greater fortune.
*Alibaba had to take on eBay when they grew in e-commerce. eBay was trying to take over China. But Alibaba was more appealing to the Chinese, while eBay struggled with focusing on China, and kept making lousy decisions.
* Alibaba's iron triangle (the factors that make it successful): E-Commerce, Logistics, Finance
*After Jack Ma turned 50, Alibaba went public on the U.S. stock market and found itself in New York. Selling 12 percent of the company, it raised $25 billion, the largest IPO in history. Demand for BABA shares outstripped supply by over fourteen times. BABA closed the day 25 percent higher than the initial price, valuing the company at over $230 billion, more than Coca-Cola. Among Internet companies, Alibaba was second only to Google, higher even than Amazon and Facebook. *Couriers and smart shortcuts cut costs and logistics networking provides very usefully.
*It fits the needs of customers. *Alipay is like PayPal. It handles tons of transactions every day and is efficient. *Surprisingly, Jack doesn't have a lot of information on programming or technology.
*Future goals are cloud computing/Big Data, expansion into rural markets, and globalization/cross-border trade.
*Once put on the notorious market list, so Alibaba has to be careful and watch out for fake trades and fake products.
*Alibaba doesn't have its own inventory, sellers and buyers make it work.
*Had to deal with the government and "The Great Firewall of China", transferring Alipay, SARS outbreak, IPO, Three Portals, EachNet, and more.
*Jack has gone into philanthropy, creating a trust that focuses on health and happiness in China.
(This book was published in 2016 so some facts may be outdated)