Alibaba and the Chinese Dream

What America needs right now is the Chinese Dream, says Jack Ma, the dynamic founder of China’s blazing e-commerce company, Alibaba Group. He and his top lieutenants toured Silicon Valley this week. He took note of economically shell-shocked Americans.

“We came here 10 years ago to bring back (to China) the American dream,” he said in an interview after a three-hour presentation at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business on Saturday. “Now we have come back and we don’t see the American dream. People are watching the government, listening, waiting. The entrepreneurship should come back. (People) shouldn’t wait for the government.’’

Ma entertained a standing-room-only crowd in the business school’s auditorium like a stand-up comic. Speaking in Mandarin, the former teacher schooled students and engineers in the lessons of Alibaba’s success – a near obsessive focus on customer relations. In fact, in these tough times, he’s warned his managers that he’ll cut their bonuses if they actually increase revenue. In a down economy, the most important job is to improve customer satisfaction, Ma preached.

He spoke like the master of the Chinese Internet universe that he is.

“You see the team here,” Ma said later. “We have passion and dreams. We think it’s a good time.”

Coming today on the Merc’s Web site, and in Friday’s paper, is a story about Ma’s plans to import his successful online retail site,, to the United States.


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