This Is Jack Ma’s Inspiring, First-Ever Speech To The Early Alibaba Team

This Is Jack Ma’s Inspiring, First-Ever Speech To The Early Alibaba Team

JILLIAN D’ONFRO TECH  MAY. 30, 2014, 2:58 AM

Former English teacher Jack Ma founded Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that’s about to IPO in the U.S. this year, out of his small apartment in 1999.

He created the company with the help of 17 friends—and the first speech that he ever gave to the team was caught on film.

It’s almost surreal to see this man, who’s now worth about $10 billion, earnestly asking the team, “So what will Alibaba become in the future?”

Even way back then, when many people in China didn’t even understand what the internet was, Ma saw Alibaba becoming a global powerhouse. Watching the speech you can see his ambition (“Our competitors are not in China, but in America’s Silicon Valley”) and well as his idealism.

After conceding that the tech bubble and spree of sky-high IPOs of the late 90s and early 2000s couldn’t last forever, he says that at least “the dream of the internet won’t burst.”

The clip is from “Crocodile in the Yangtze,” a film by long-time Alibaba employee Porter Erisman.

The documentary tells Alibaba’s incredible founding story through old footage and photos, and highlights how it managed to beat out eBay in China despite being the underdog in almost every way.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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