Monday, May 15, 2006

Interview with Alibaba's CEO Jack Ma


"Q: You've given eBay a lot of grief in China. What do you think of their chances in China? How are you going to compete against them?
A: I think eBay is one of the companies I respect the most in e-commerce. They are really so successful. But in China, I think they are gone. This game is over. They have made so many mistakes in China. We are lucky. Two years ago, I said that eBay lost the first battle. We won the first battle. But now I say the game is done. It is very difficult for them to come back in China.

Q: What kind of mistakes are you talking about?
A: There are several mistakes that they made. For example, they believed too much that their business model in the U.S. will work in China. It's such a good business model in the U.S., but in China the credit card system is bad and Internet infrastructure is no good. A lot of concepts here in the U.S. are good. But moving them to China takes time.
Second is the technology platform. They think that eBay needs a global technology platform, so they put the China site on their global technology platform. It sounds great, like a Boeing 747 flying is great. But if the airport is a school yard, you cannot land. Even if you want to change a button, you have to report to like 14 guys." Interview with Jack Ma


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