Jack Ma speaks with a fine blend of humility and confidence, seemingly apt to demure and diminish himself yet steely at the same time around what he has to do. For example, he is extraordinarily wealthy, especially at the heels of a record IPO, but he has difficulty getting used to it. He was more used to the small salary he garnered as a teacher.
It is apparent that Alibaba is more than just a company:
Alibaba is an ecosystem, that is helping small business to grow.Business owners can sell anything on the site, given that it draws 18 million people browsing on a daily basis. So while WSJ interviewer Dennis Berman inquires about selling more Chinese products around the world, Ma counters that that is already happening. Instead, he wants to import more American, Russian and Brazilian products to his formidable market.
Ma was in Hollywood to learn how American filmmakers create movies. In Chinese movies, he says, the hero always dies. So nobody wants to be a hero, and young people don't have people to look up to. He adds that he learns a lot from watching the big screen, for instance, how to speak to an audience from The Bodyguard. When asked to elaborate on his purpose for being in Hollywood, he relates that China is a huge market for movies. Again Jack Ma is thinking import.
Because of sheer size, Alibaba has to think bigger and broader, in order to sustain itself over the next 10 years. So, Jack Ma reasons, his company has to solve social problems. For example, he anticipates serious health problems, because of pollution, but he envisions a China with clear air in 10 years. What does he want to do, then? Build more hospitals, draw more doctors, and develop more drugs. Yet, another major opportunity for that Alibaba ecosystem.