The Alibaba Group will usher Chinese society into a new and real business world, according to Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese Internet giant that's on track to complete the biggest initial public offering in U.S. history.
“If Google is exploring the border of technology, then what we are doing is employing technology to explore the border of business,” Ma said after attending the annual conference of the China Entrepreneur Club, an elite meeting of 20 of China’s top entrepreneurs, in the city of Nanning. “Our contribution is bringing the Chinese society into a real business world. Although China has entered the business era, many people are still thinking in an agricultural way.”
Ma has avoided public appearances since Alibaba embarked on its U.S. IPO, and he's avoided journalists when the media is present, Hu Xiu, a Chinese business news outlet, reported on Monday. He mentioned that the company’s lawyers have repeatedly reminded him not to “fling off a remark in public,” as the charismatic entrepreneur has been known to do in the past.
Ma founded Alibaba in 1999, and the company has since grown into an Internet and e-commerce giant with many different lines of businesses, including Taobao.com and Tmall.com, two of China’s most popular online retail platforms, under its banner. The company is expected to raise $15 billion to $20 billion, potentially surpassing Facebook’s $16 billion offering in 2012.
Ma resigned as the group’s CEO in 2013, but he remains widely known as one of China’s most visible and influential businessmen, a reputation of which he said he was proud in his resignation speech, according to Hu Xiu.
“If Alibaba could contribute something to the Chinese society, we hope it can bring Chinese society onto a new stage where people honor contracts, honor the efficiency in resource distribution and honor the inspiration of innovation,” Ma added. “We are working towards this end.”