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Transparency Of A Company Like Drinking Clean Water - Alibaba.com’s Jack Ma

By Daniela Cambone of Kitco News
Tuesday September 23, 2014 12:16 PM

New York City (Kitco News) - "Last week was very exciting," said Jack Ma. "I would like to thank America for helping to raise a little money so we can do more things," said Alibaba Group's (NYSE:BABA) executive chairman during a panel discussion at Tuesday's Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.

Moderator and Clinton's Foundation's Vice Chair, Chelsea Clinton followed up with a chuckle and highlighted the choosing of his word "a little." The Alibaba stock began trading on Friday and ended the day with a market value of $231 billion, the largest public offering in history. 

One of the pillars behind Alibaba's success is the ability to be open said Ma. "The transparency of a company is like drinking clean water. If a company is shrouded in mystery, it cannot properly serve its customers.  People think the company has strong secret support in China, absolutely not said Ma. "We don't have a rich father or a powerful uncle; we only have the customer that supports us."  

From left to right: Clinton's Foundation's Vice Chair, Chelsea Clinton moderates a panel discussion with Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba Group and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, finance minister of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The topic of the panel was appropriately named, Valuing What Matters, with Clinton noting, "Talk about value, you have just been given tremendous value with the launch of your IPO." 

E-commerce giant Alibaba was started with humble beginnings. Ma founded it in 1999 in his modest apartment in Hangzhou, he is now considered by some reports to be China's wealthiest man. Ma taught himself English and overcame one obstacle after another, including being rejected at virtually every school he applied to because his math skills were not up to par. 

"Today is tough, tomorrow will be tougher, the day after tomorrow is beautiful, most people die tomorrow," said Ma advocating that if you believe you have value, dreams can happen.  Ma also stressed the importance of forward thinking. "I always believe we have to think about what we should do in ten years. We [have] success today because we had a dream 15 years ago. Fifteen years ago we believed the Internet could house small business." Today, the marketplace site serves 79 million members from more than 240 countries and territories. 

As for what he plans to do with all the money raised from his IPO debut, Ma plans to invest in the environment, youth and what he calls the small guys. "Who helped us come to the New York Stock Exchange to raise more money? It is the millions and millions of small and medium sized companies," he said. "I remember asking myself who are the people I should work with. The state own businesses have the governments that take care of them. The multi-nationals have the capital markets. Only the small business guys, nobody is helping them. We still have to focus on the small and medium-sized businesses." 

"The more money you have, the more responsibility you have," Ma said. He added, "Because people trust you can spend the money much better than others."

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By Daniela Cambone of Kitco News; dcambone@kitco.com
Follow Daniela Cambone on Twitter @DanielaCambone



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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