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Text by Sun Bing, China Economic Weekly

 

An unprecedented initial public offering (IPO) by Chinese tech giant Alibaba not only made its chairman Jack Ma China’s richest person, but made the company the world’s largest e-commerce firm and second largest internet entity.

Recently, Jack Ma and his business empire have become one of the hottest topics globally. His ambitious dream of “changing the lives of millions of people and even the entire world” has become reality. When speaking of the future of Alibaba, he always considers a “business sphere” comprised of all its stakeholders instead of only the tech giant itself.

September 19, 2014: Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group, and his team give thumbs up to the crowd in front of the New York Stock Exchange before the IPO of his company.  CFP

Bell Ringers

At 7 a.m. local time on September 19, 2014, journalists from around the world endured a chilly morning breeze in front of the New York Stock Exchange decorated with Alibaba’s orange banners. That day, China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, launched its IPO. Camera flashes lit up the scene as Jack Ma and his team appeared and waved to onlookers.

The IPO of Alibaba seemed like a big “show” under a global spotlight, with the climax being the bell-ringing ceremony. Astonishingly, neither Jack Ma nor his business partners rang the IPO bell. Instead, he invited eight of Alibaba’s clients, including an online-store owner, a shopper, a customer-service worker, a delivery man, an online-store model, and a service provider, to do the job. Those bell ringers represent the entire industrial chain of the e-commerce giant.

Jack Ma doesn’t regret missing the chance to ring the bell himself. “The purpose of our 15 years of work was to let them stand on the stage and open the door to greater success,” he illustrates. “We believe our company will succeed when our clients gain success. We aren’t a company born of technological innovation or legendary entrepreneurs, but a business entity built on the devotion of millions in terms of time, energy, and passion.” In the eyes of Ma, his business sphere shouldn’t be limited to e-commerce or even the internet, but should cover the entire business chain and even expand to the whole world.

 

Run, Forrest, Run

In its first day trading, Alibaba’s stock price closed at US$ 93.89, more than 38 percent up from its initial offering price of $68. The Chinese tech giant’s market value surpassed US$ 231.4 billion, beating Facebook and becoming the world’s second largest internet company following only Google. This also made its chairman, Jack Ma, the wealthiest person on the Chinese mainland.

 

 

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