Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s founder and CEO Jack Ma said he hoped to do “something” with Apple Inc. in the future, after meeting with Tim Cook on Monday night. Ma also announced that his company’s Alipay had become the third-largest payment system in the world, behind Visa and Mastercard.
A theoretical partnership between Alipay and Apple Pay has made Ma hopeful "we could do something," Ma said, during an on-stage interview Monday at the WSJD conference, which is currently under way in Laguna Beach, California. He added that Alibaba currently had 100 million daily visitors.
Alibaba would look to video creation for the benefit of the 80 million visitors who come to the site without making a purchase, Ma said, like its American rival Amazon.com Inc. “We need content for them," like Hollywood-style movies, which only represent one piece of a larger opportunity.
China’s breakneck production of exports will soon reverse, the Chinese entrepreneur said. There is greater potential in bringing goods to China, Ma said, and while the last 10 years were about exports, the next decade "should be about importing."
Alibaba will also have to address China's social problems if it wants to “last a long time,” Ma said, adding that health care is “the only way” Alibaba can sustain its business. His comments come as Silicon Valley giants like Google Inc. and Apple attempt to enter the medical and fitness industries with new services.
The Chinese entrepreneur said he got his inspiration from Silicon Valley at the turn of the millennium, and learned to give speeches by watching Whitney Houston’s performance in “The Bodyguard.” He compared Alibaba to Silicon Valley giants like Google and Ebay Inc., but added that Alibaba works "smarter" than eBay and that is more important than working harder.
"Google wants to expand the boundaries of technology,” Ma said. “We want to use technology to expand the boundaries of business.”
However, the only rival Ma was not keen on directly mentioning was American competitor Amazon.com though he smiled when told that Alibaba Group has made more money in the past 90 days than Amazon has in 20 years.