6 Important Key Messages From Jack Ma’s Visit To Thailand

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Jack Ma appeared in front of 300 Thai attendees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday 11th October in a talk titled “Global Trade Revolution: Building a New e-Trade Platform for SMEs”. His talk could be broken up into six key points:

  • The Alibaba mindset
  • Advice for the new generation and how to improve the education system
  • His outlook on technology
  • Advice for entrepreneurs
  • His opinions and advice for Thailand
  • Jack Ma’s life philosophy

Watch Jack Ma’s talk here:

The Alibaba mindset

  • “I never planned for Alibaba to become an empire. From the history lessons we took as students, it was clear that all empires eventually fall. My philosophy was for Alibaba to be an ecosystem. We want SMEs to use our platform.”
  • “If you ask how we measure success in Alibaba, I can tell you honestly that we measure three clear criteria”

Our company has created countless of jobs for the country
We have helped SMEs using our platform and many have grown and succeeded
Our platform has assisted and serviced many across the globe

Numbers and profits are not what I use as metrics in calculating success.

 Advice for the new generation

  • “To me, whether you are a teacher, a parent or a manager, no one can be better at your job. You are the one who has to work at improving your craft. The way to do this is through gaining knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is what you can learn, and wisdom comes from life experience.”

For the young generation, one quality you should possess is bravery. The younger you are, the braver you should be.

  • “Don’t be whiny, I used to be whiny but I changed myself. My life changed with it. Life’s opportunities are embedded in these mindsets, if you have the determination to change, opportunities will come.”
  • “I think the education system needs to be reformed. The education system often looks for those who are smart, but in the new world, machines will be smarter than people. I think the education system should encourage kids to be imaginative and innovative. These things cannot be taught to machines.”

His outlook on technology

  • “My prediction for the future is that many jobs will become obsolete. There will also be a handful of new jobs, we shouldn’t be afraid of machines, but instead embrace machines.”

Jack Ma on the future of e-money

  • “What you get from electronic money is data collection and transparency because all information can be collected, therefore its transparent.”
  • “The benefit is that people in general and SMEs will find it easier to ask financial institutions for help. Once everyone has credit history attached to their profile, they’ll be more inclined to trust you with loans.”
  • “When we talk about data collection, people often ask about privacy. What I want to say is, we have less privacy nowadays in society. But I think that has become the norm, and if you ask me, giving away information to machines is scarier!”
  • “Before the age of banks, people distrusted them and were reluctant to open accounts. Later on, people learned that putting money in the bank is safer than hiding it under your pillow. What you should do then, is to adjust and make yourself familiar with e-money.”


Advice for entrepreneurs 

When asked how SME owners will be able to convince consumers, Jack Ma said:

“Don’t convince the big players who are already successful. But convince those who wish to succeed. When I started Alibaba, the big players didn’t buy what I was selling. My strategy was to target the younger generation and new target groups. I think schools and MBA cannot teach you to become an entrepreneur. ”

Entrepreneurship can be discovered and developed, but not educated.

“Consumers don’t come in one day. It takes time to build. My approach to this is to not build your team to be marketers and salespeople, but build them to service your clients. It will be an additional weapon to the sales and marketing team.”


His advice for Thailand

  • “Farmers may not know how to operate a computer, but these days, they are very capable of using mobile phones. Therefore, I don’t think it’s too difficult to teach them how to navigate an ecommerce platform.”
  • “I think these things have to go hand-in-hand with other components such as e-payment and a support system for exports. The [Thai] government should support this initiative and create an infrastructure to support it.”
  • “I think agriculture is a big selling point for Thailand. Chinese consumers also have a big penchant for Thai fruits.”

Currently, we see B2C business models in the market, but in the future, we’ll be able to see C2B, which refers to regular people being able to sell to the business sector.


Jack Ma’s life philosophy

“Suddenly, so many books were being written about me. You don’t need to read the book I wrote, but some people have only chronicled my successes, and I am someone who has failed many times.”

  • “I have been rejected for over 30 jobs. This makes me susceptible to rejection.”
  • “I didn’t have high education, and I’m not attractive (laughs), but this has made me some very good and loyal friends, because they really like me for me.”
  • “Even if we don’t have investors or have been rejected from loans, we should not borrow from our parents or friends. Our parents are older, they have bills to pay. Our friends are young, so they need to save up for their futures. My team and I struggled ourselves, if the money ran out, we would go to look for new things together.”

I’m always excited to be talking to SME owners. Every time I meet them, I learn a lot of things. Their eyes often show a lot of passion. But when I talk to people in big companies, their eyes are different, it’s more about money and competition for them.

  • “Always use your brain. Do not just follow what others are doing or saying.”
  • “Think positively about the world.”
  • “Find a good partner. You will never be able to succeed on your own.”
  • “Of course, finding a good partner takes time. The different components of working takes time to see results. Take it slow, and you’ll see results.”
  • “Even now, I still have a fear of public speaking, which is why I only choose to talk about what I know.”
  • “To me, power and money do not mean more than experience.”
  • “I’m not impressed by those who say, if I have money, I will build…but I admire those who say, I don’t have money, but I will find a way to build.”

I want to die peacefully in a classroom or at the beach, not in my office – Jack Ma

For the original write-up of Jack Ma’s talk, visit Tech Sauce here