A Conversation with Alibaba Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang
welcome to everyone we're just so delighted to have you join us for this conversation um alibaba's stated mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere through digital transformation as a multinational technology company it offers data and platforms across e-commerce logistics cloud computing digital media and entertainment venture capital and investment and health in the forbes global 2000 2020 list alibaba was named the 31st largest public company all this for a business founded just over 20 years ago by jack ma and his friends and students daniel zhang today's guest became ceo of alabama in 2015 after stint to co and succeeded maha's chairman in 2019. our connections to daniel come via tian chao chen who hired zhang as chief financial officer of shanda interactive entertainment in 2005. it's been quite a journey since then alabama has thrived under jean's leadership even through a pandemic and an anti-trust investigation in daniel's own words when people say ai we laugh and say that it is us it's alibaba intelligence because data and technology power everything we do he has been named business person of the year by fortune magazine and one of the 100 most influential people of 2020 by time magazine daniel thank you for taking the time to join us and please join me on this virtual stage it's great to see you daniel and i and we really appreciate it of course it's morning where you are and uh evening in la and uh but thanks to technology we get to cut across these barriers uh and so be sorry being head of a educational institution um i want to start with a question about education so can you can you tell me how your education uh your degree in finance from shanghai university of finance and economics prepared you for your current role well uh actually i get all my education in china and after i graduate from from the university in shanghai i joined uh the accounting firm uh anderson back to 1995.
so when i think about my campus life i think what impact me most in today's career life is about learning capability i think because today as yes i have some a finance background but now i'm taking i have to lead the the the such a big organization such a huge business is covering many sectors actually it's not about like what you uh what did you learn from a specific major in the university it's all about like what you learn and how learn about the learning capability so so when you come across some new things new business new opportunity can you i defend identify the opportunity and hit the pain point of the customers and and get opportunity from the market it's all about can you can you learn quickly and can you hit the key point quickly so i uh if i recall my life in uh in the university i think i think that's the most important i mean skill set i learned from from from the uh i think even more important compared to the majors and technologies and skills that i learned in the university so i mean i think that is exactly what we want to train our students to do is to have the confidence to be able to use their baseline of information and then go out and explore the world and learn fact i i joke sometimes i'm a physicist i took the wrong p major i should have been a psychologist for for the job i have so i so i wonder how you think about uh learning about interacting with people motivating people how do how do you approach that well that's a that's a good i mean topic tom i i like what you said i think i think as a as a leader it's not it doesn't matter in terms of leading a a university or leading a business a unit or leading a small group of people it's not only about the working technology working skill set it's about the intel the people skills the the the people skill set so how but i think this is uh i think uh in uni in my life in the campus i think uh we i started to learn some uh uh people skill set but uh it's not all it's all about the life experience so i think maybe we can i can say that to to join some communities in the campus to have some social activities to have more chances to interact with people is important yes that's important i would encourage young people to spend more time with others in the campus have more friends especially have more friends in different sectors not necessarily from your same class so but but i think it's more important over time when you start your uh your career you'll have more chances to to deal with different people with different background and even culture uh and uh i think it's a it's a it's more like an on job uh training the real training i mean and over time i would say you have to uh to to to to to once again to to think about is to how to lead a team and how to interact with people is even more important than how can you accomplish something by yourself so i think that's uh i would say maybe back to my life with shanda i would say uh that's because that's the the first corporate uh after i spent like uh 11 years in accounting firm uh in in china you know that as a professional and as a as a as a senior staff as a senior leader in a corporate it's quite different it's quite different so you have to deal with many people from different business and uh from technology side from business side from from from marketing side and from different i mean business partners so it's very important to to to enjoy your conversation and enjoy the difference you identify when you deal with different people rather than just think about i want to find the same people like me to work with and to to to to do business with so i think that's on job i mean it's a it's a real experience but on job training and it's a fun it's a it's a lifelong journey for the uh for learning how to how to develop the people's skill set yeah i i think you put it beautifully i mean part of the attraction i think of my job and i imagine your job is you have an excuse if you will to go talk to lots of different people who have very different perspectives very different backgrounds and usually they'll talk to you so it's it's helpful that way but as you create the alibaba culture how do you think about propagating those values well uh i think of in alibaba i think in all uh all the other great companies i think the culture is a call to the company and yes we have different people uh we have different people as i said uh with different perspective with different experience and culture and even religion right but i think we need to go back to the core of the heart so in alibaba we we value our people from different angles like we we value this positive goodness sincerity and integrity i think these i think it's i think all these things i don't think it's relevant to a specific i mean experience it's all about back to the heart of the people so we want to encourage people to share these goodness and integrity and positive with each other and keep the world simple and do things in a simple way and have the conversation in a simple way in a direct way and and so i think that's the that's the core value of alibaba and beyond that i think we can then we can talk about innovation uh we can talk about how to motivate young people because with this then you have a strong common strong base for all the generations for all the people from different countries from different backgrounds so alabama has grown so fast um so can you comment a little on what it was like 10 years ago compared to what it's like today and then maybe even tell us what it's going to look like 10 years from now well alibaba was founded by jack maher and 18 founders in 1999 and if we uh if we compare what we look like 20 20 22 years ago 10 years ago and today i was until like 10 years ago i was we we were pretty much positioned as an e-commerce company maybe today and but that was true at that time 10 years ago we were truly a e-commerce company because our main business is the read online retail marketplaces and and the online wholesale marketplace is domestic in china and internationally but in the recent 10 years we uh we invest in technologies especially in cloud computing starting from 2009 and now we don't we don't think ourselves and people don't think us as purely a e-com company yes we we still have a very strong consumer marketplace we have very very good i mean consumer reach all digitalized but now i think we position ourselves as a as a infrastructure service provider including commerce including logistics of financial services and cloud computing to all the business partners uh want to achieve a digital transformation in this era so that's what we uh the that's what we are doing and this is also tied back to alibaba's mission as you uh intro uh made introduction at the beginning actually when jack and his founders uh found this company he set a great mission out to the company which we all believe uh this is make it easy to do business anywhere so when i i took over a jack's job uh two years ago as chairman of the company uh in alibaba's 20 years anniversary we have a great i mean uh gathering at that time i said to my all my staff that how to accomplish this mission actually the mission never changed but today actually the key is digital so the digital infrastructure we build up actually is the answer in terms of how to fulfill our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere it's about digital technology so so when you you've you described a process of making pretty massive changes and build out in terms of the business model so how do you how do you recognize those opportunities how do you deal with risk when do you decide to pivot or keep going the way you are do do you do you have a philosophy about that or an approach particular approach well it's uh uh yes we we have to think about i think first of all we have to think about the general trend the perspective and just just take example like uh back uh 10 years ago when we uh i think 10 years ago when we started the mobile transition because at that time before like 2011 it's more like a pc world right now everybody was living on the mobile phone when mobile internet coming and we i remember we we decided to to switch to mobile strategy uh i mean aggressively because i think this is risky because at that time all our business like our consumer business uh e-commerce business or on pc but uh how can you switch your customers from pc to mobile i think you need a big investment and you have to even take some pain i mean in the short term but this is a general trend as long as you strongly believe this is the that's the future you have to invest and you don't it's uh time is very very i mean cautious so you have to you have to invest you have to go further and do things quickly and yes maybe this transition may may fail but if you don't change you at the end of the day you also fail so so either way you have the risk and then why not you you take the take a very very i mean solid step and the try and make and have strong commitment and bet for the future i always said that's the we have to back for the future [Music] and so you you were on a particular trajectory and then of course the pandemic hit can you talk a little bit about how you managed the company through the pandemic and what you see coming out of the pandemic well the panama changed the whole world including alibaba but we are a little bit uh i mean lucky because we are in china and due to the very effective control i mean measures of measures in china i think it's a it's a quite i mean safe environment but back to the beginning of 19 uh 2020 i think china was the first country this pandemic started but as a company i think what do uh what we do is like for for every other companies we take care of our staff and take care of our our our our employees and do whatever we we need because at the beginning of this pandemic dynamic summer we actually we have some we had some like more than 10 stars was test positive and so it's a it's a it's quite emerging that was quite emerging i mean situation but but but fortunately we can get this control and the no uh no spreading to others uh so situation is good but i think as a as a as a platform company actually we were very very busy during the pandemic because we don't want to just take off take care of our staff i think that's the that was the best time for us as a platform company to take more social responsibilities so i would say actually during the programming we basically did did a couple of things first is like use our trading platform first to sourcing the ppes from other countries and get them back to china that was the first phase and the second phase when china under control and the emerging situation in other market and then we start to uh start to uh help the uh uh the foreign partners to uh and foreign other countries to get the ppes from china to the world so uh i think that's uh uh that's about uh our our our trading capabilities on the other side in in china we develop our we use our ai technologies i use our technology platform to in to help help the hospitals help the local government to deal with this emerging situation and we do have some we call new retail but this is our online offline integrated i mean omni channel operation so we var this operation it's it's it's all relevant to day-to-day needs and the day-to-day uh uh day-to-day necessities so with this we keep our supply and to the to the people in the in the uh in the local community and also our our logistics system until today still work with the un to help their sourcing from china because we provide the supply chain services help them to deliver the sourcing from china to to all the other destinations in the world so a lot dude a lot we did but i think it's uh once again that's a very important uh uh moment for us to leverage the infrastructure our service we build up leverage the platform we build up to to to serve the society to uh to i think to tackle the challenge for the human being so do you think that people look at alibaba differently because of this i think yes because we had a conversation with many of uh citizens many business partners and china in china and overseas and i think i think because of what we do people realize that oh alibaba's business is so relevant to the to the day-to-day life of the society so relevant to uh to all of us so i think it's good to it's i think it's not important that whether or not people view us differently i think the most important can you do some real thing can you create a real value for your friends for your partners or for for someone who never know and to help them right thank you uh of course this last year has not only seen the pandemic it's seen the antitrust investigation so i was wondering how that's going to affect alibaba and how you're thinking about uh moving forward from that well uh we accepted uh uh an anti-trust investigation uh by the chinese regulator uh starting uh december last year and uh and we got the final division uh in may uh in april and uh we said publicly uh we reiterate our position we accept this decision with synthetic with sincerity and determination because truly uh truly uh we truly believe as a platform uh platform economy is a new thing not only to china but to the whole world and you can see the whole platform uh how big platforms grow in in the u.s in china in asia market so as a platform company we need to learn how to deal with a not not only grow the business but not only serve the customers but how to deal how to grow and how to get well with the entire society i think that's the common topic for all the platform companies including alibaba and so i so that's why we strongly believe that uh yes private company have a big advantage of of scaling up because you have this uh you you have this uh network effect and you when you take the first step and you can you can scale up your your size and you have more impact in different sectors but the key thing is can you really create the value and for the for the society it's not only about for your business and this is not only about business value is about the social value social responsibility so that's what we learned are from this investigation and so that's why actually back to back to two years ago we we said to all our employees that we want to change uh one of the two missions the first mission as i said to you tom is about make it easy to do this anywhere unless we have a second mission which is as a company we want to be we want to live 102 years so we want to be a company uh survive for 102 years why is that because alibaba was founded in 1999 we want to be a company to to survive for three centuries so 102 years is the minimum years we need to survive three centuries but the point is not that this the key point is that we want to be a good company we want to be a good company to survive for 102 years so we we emphasize to be a good company but this good is not like we think we are good it's all about as you said how how other people receive and from from their eyes can you from their real experience can they get the benefit from a platform company like alibaba so that's what we think and what we do so i hate to keep bringing up these hard challenges but i was hoping you talk a little bit about climate change and sustainability and how you're positioning alibaba in terms of that challenge well i think once again this is also a big uh like dynamic i think this is a common challenge for the human beings and all the countries and the i think including china set a very a big goal in the uh in terms of climate change and environmental protection and it's all about sustainability and as uh for alibaba once again we want to do this we want to we are not a simple company we are platform so all we think about is can we leverage the power of the ecosystem or leverage the power from all the participants in this in this platform to have a to to to do something different so i just give an example like in our and financial uh our uh alipay uh mobile wallet actually day one this is what was the water but now actually every morning in china and in many countries our users when they got up the first thing they do is to open those it's mobile mobile app to plan trees and receive scenes from a interactive game from this mobile app so the purpose of this this is actually a social program we developed the key thing is when we when people are plant a tree a tree grow up then we want to help them to plant a real tree in the north of china and so far we have planted over 200 uh 200 million trees in the in the in the north of china and some days ago i paid a visit to to that region and just to see that the trees grow up and but this is not about tree this is also about the job opportunity because when you try to if you want to plant such a huge amount of trees so you need a lot of people working on this so by this way we want to inspire people to think more about about the the sustainability actually we try to transform a interactive game to a social program and we can leverage all the people all the users the second example i can share with you is that we have so many merchants on our retail platforms they are sellers on this platform and we're working with them like and like they encourage them and we work together to use the green parcels because when the online sales online business grow up and it it people can benefit from this because convenience because of the selections but also created another problem which is the parcel the packaging materials i'm sure this also happened in the us so how to develop the ring puzzles i think that's also very very important for to make make sure this is a sustainable uh this is this is good for the sustainability so we work together with all the other merchants to and to use these green puzzles and we even want to give them some benefit and from this platform mechanism so that's i think as a platform company how we think about and yes we as a as a company alone we we do a lot and we we spend money and we have some social programs our projects uh going on i think that's many many companies do but i think we can do as a platform company we strongly believe we can do something different it's not by our own also together with all the people around us so you've talked about so many different areas that you're involved in so how do you how do you read up on these how do you learn about these is there is there a particular area that you're studying now or is it through talking to people or what is peaking your interest these days well i think the key thing is about is about curiosity yes we are in different business sectors but i think if you are forced to learn and first to keep up with what uh the situation i think is quite painful to be honest i would say the key thing is like because you are in such uh so many different sectors and the the world is changing so fast the technology is developed it is developed so fast and uh and you have to keep up with the situation and learn the recent technology learn the recent business model and enjoy the the recent consumer life that's very important to us as well so you have to you have to as i myself i always said to my people that i want to be a ordinary consumer and i can walk on the street i can go to a restaurant a small restaurant i can go to the cinema i i i i'm enjoying the life but at the same time i'm an observer i observe how other people behave is their behavior changed so maybe there is some pain point we can identify to eat up with our business upgrade our service and how technology applied to the different sectors applied to the financial services applied to logistics applied to the utility services then is it opportunity for us to upgrade our solution in a cloud computing i think that's all about curiosity yeah we certainly sympathize with that and have that same approach of course at caltech and uh it's uh both exciting and challenging i think to to get enough breath to understand where the trends are going so so are there people that you have as mentors that you talk to about these issues or uh how do you how do you try to assimilate all this information well in my in my long history of career life i i didn't have a a official mentor but i have some good friends and we can chat and we can debate and of course i spent some time with jack jacks to some extent he's a he's a mentor to me and during my life in alibaba and we spent some time uh we we we had didn't we have dinner we have chat from time to time but it's not like for a specific topic just a chat uh if both are interesting then we spend more time on this that's it but but i think we should learn from each uh from from many people not only from uh people uh uh uh in the business but maybe from different sectors and i i i i'm a good i'm a big fan of of basketball i'm a big fan of like i'm i'm a good reader so i think from these experience you can also learn something different but i think the call actually the same and everywhere applied to the business applies to the life is the same so so we have lots of questions from the audience but but before i let you go with my my opportunity to ask you you brought up basketball so are are you the um kind of basketball player who drives the lane or takes the three-point shot well i prefer to uh three-pointers so i i think that's uh it's all about your style to to to reach your goal and and and resolve a problem i think if we can go straight ahead to a point and we can get it very sharply let's do it i think it's uh yes you need a power it's more like a dunk it's like it's a it's a very very amazing uh show of power and even sometimes the violence but uh but i i prefer to to resolve a problem like a three appointees okay so i i will know when we if we ever get the chance to play on the by the way by the way by the way tom i i used to be a big fan of rigid mila [Laughter] well well thank you so much uh daniel this is great so i i'm going to now uh move to some of the questions i remind the audience that if you have a question please put it on the q and a um and the first question i have here is from kai shen who's a phd 2010 uh and wanted to ask you daniel what's your outlook about the state of cloud and enterprise software in china versus the united states well i think that's uh uh i think that's a business question but i i'm happy to answer i think uh the first of all the landscape for the for the it environment uh in china and in the u.s it's quite different in the u.s with very advanced i mean uh based in terms of the i.t penetration and but china i think i think it's not that in in this state it's more like a china go straight ahead to the cloud and because for for many many companies they don't have very sophisticated i.t solution
and software solution but now i think cloud uh actually wake them up and they realize the importance not about the cloud it's about the importance of the usage of data so they realize the importance of data and realize the the value of data so for these companies they go straight ahead to a cloud era i would say cloud error and i think that's the big biggest difference if we can use in china for for u.s it's more like starting from the migration from traditional i.t infrastructure to the cloud iot infrastructure then think about the more solutions but in china it's not maybe for many companies no no migration at all they they go straight ahead to think about can we better use the data and create a value for the customer for the business so so i think that these solutions and together with the cloud are happen i mean simultaneously very good thank you from alexander uh zlatan artificial intelligence is rapidly advancing and you've talked about that certainly many notable individuals have voiced concerns about the potential for a.i to become more intelligent than
humans do you think this is a possible scenario in the long term i must strongly believe that the human being is the smartest i mean in the world because all the ai are created by human being by people so i think i think i think yes we today ai play a very important role are in many many sectors and like in alibaba as you said at the beginning i i i had a joke i mean previously like alibaba is more like alibaba intelligence ai right right so so we apply ai technology to many many businesses and this is a at the end of our business but we i strongly believe that uh i think because of because of uh because of people that we got this technology so we need to make sure this technology is make good to the whole world and and and the technology is developed by people uh to the most advanced advanced stage but at the end of the people is still the key it's not about uh it's not a machine and i think the key thing is about emotion because it's not only about the effectiveness it's about emotion i see yes and uh it's a very interesting point of course some some machines do try to mimic emotion the famous touring test but uh that's right very different qualities you know uh so joe reuse uh asks at what point do you have certainty on your predictions on the future well that's a hard one but maybe an example of uh how you feel convinced about the predictions you're making which may go back to our discussion about accommodating risk and when you pivot or not well i think the key thing uh the very very uh sure i mean perception is that we are going to a totally digitalized error and all the people's behavior all the tech all the business are digitalized and so i would say uh in this uh in this regard i would say uh the whole world is becoming more intelligent become more intelligent and how can we uh uh tackle this i mean uh to to to to identify the opportunity uh in this i mean intelligent world and help the business help the people be more intelligent and i think that's the from that angle you can find a different i mean many many many opportunities in different sectors and but once again it at the end of the we have to to go get back to people's experience it's not about business it's about the people's experience thank you sue quinn g postdoc in physics and serena yan have a question about work-life balance and so this goes to your employees and how you think about motivating them and keeping them happy in recent years a small group of people are quite worried about the 996 work style basically working from 9am to 9pm and 6 days a week so they want to know your thoughts about 996 but i think more generally um about how how how you set expectations for your employees and keep morale and the company up uh first of all i would say uh because now in 996 is is quite i mean uh quite uh it's a hot topic it used to be a hot topic for many people but as a company we never forced 996 to our employees and and we don't even request our people to go to work at night 9 a.m and stop and at 6 pm because our the nature of our business and we can work especially after even before the planet for many companies they start to change their working style i mean and go digital and after panama they have to but before the panama because we are we are running a digital business so all our our operations are digitalized so we don't have to request people stay somewhere and work for like like nine hours like that it's all about your style you can work early you can work lately as long as you get things done that's it so we never say that you have to stay at work for like uh six days nine hours a day like this uh 12 hours a day like this but i would say but from but we often tell all the people like it's about your choice so so you want to work harder and maybe you you have you set your own personal goal and you want to achieve that goal and you work harder but maybe some sometimes you want to enjoy your life and you will take your vocation and you will you will take an easy job but this is all depend on your what you need from your heart so i think that's a fair decision and and today i think for for different generations for different for people with different background they may have different choices we understand and we respect i think we have to respect people's decision but i think it's all about the it's like the more you invest maybe the the higher likelihood you can you can have a higher return but the definition of return is so different so we have to respect all the definition of returns that's it right and and and so i i've i've heard that in alibaba you actually have um for for the forums for the whole company where employees can express concerns and all how does that work and do these sorts of issues come up yes we have a forum uh we have internet on our internet all our employees they they have the access to this forum they can share their opinion they can raise their concern they can they can post what they write and we have a very very important principle is that everybody can express their opinion on this forum and we will never never delete any of this it's it's not possible so it's uh we have to make it transparent but people have to respect to each other and the people have to people people can have different view and they have to respect each other and they can share their opinion and the energy in recent months we have many many discussions on this forum in terms of the staff welfare in in terms of these promotion policies uh in terms of like you said the the the uh things like that and i myself actually uh uh had a all star uh have have every month i spent some time with some stars junior stars we pick from this forum they may uh they maybe they share a post uh get a very very uh big i mean feedback and and all their opinions are very unique and it's it's very productive and to the company so we think it's good suggestion so we i will get in around me and we spend like one half hour hour a month and we chat and i listen i also share my view with them because we are equal we strongly believe that we are equal we are all the employees company maybe we have different position but we have to share the opinion with each other and i listen and you also listen i respect you and you also respect me that's it thank you um dan kai liu uh wanted to ask about learning and and you made some comments about the importance of learning and adapting um and the question is what is the best approach to learn during this information saturated environment and uh what is your approach and can you share well it's a very good good question because today we have a uh we have exploding information if we want to learn you can you have too much to learn but i think it's all as it's all about can you have a good i mean filtering system in your it's not from the assistant it's from your from your mind and because because with this mobile internet with all the technologies you can get this filtering very easily and then and of course you have to you will have some everyone everybody has his priority and if you want to get some uh for example like if you want to get some new development of of bitcoins and you you may pay more attention on this right so if if if you want if you pay more if you uh focus on cars and uh autonomous driving and then you you you you may pay more attention on this so you you need a very good filtering i mean system and then make sure you get first get enough information but then you can filter and take a very specific approach and to to go deeper i think go deeper is very very important rather than you you read a lot but all very general if you want to be a specialist if you want to be an even expert in a specific area then you need to go deeper very good thank you uh teresa engelhardt asks have you found acquisitions a good way to build your platform or has alibaba relied mostly on in-house development well uh we do both actually uh when we uh when we want to expand our market and if we want to if we think this technology is good to us but due to the time efficiency of maybe acquisition is a better choice at that time we do acquisition but i think acquisition is not about business actually it's about people once again because you you have some new people joining your organization as how to i think integration is a heart is very very important when we talk about talk about acquisition and but uh we pay but if we have uh if we have we see some chances we first think about can we do it i mean in in-house uh can we offer this opportunity to our own staff because this is another kind of like uh acquisition and investment right you you option number one you you invest others and you make acquisition uh option number two you invest your your own people and develop your technology your business by yourself so uh with the equal chances then we tend to we prefer to leaving the opportunity to our own staff to our own people but if we have have this strategically important in terms of timing in terms of market expansion in terms of technology development yes we we go go and do the acquisition from time to time so this is this um as a follow-up and this is also a question that touches on one that comes from shimao zhang what about your own research institute and what are your uh plans and goals for doing research in-house and the relationship of that academia well uh in alibaba three years ago we we set up a our research lab uh we call dharma academy and it's a chinese name but it's a it's a research lab and we recruit many italian people in china and across the world and and we also have some people joining us from the u.s and we have uh we set up a couple of i mean uh uh i mean themes are for research sun for long term very long term some for for midterm and some for uh for the for the for the real business because we our our nature is that we don't we don't think that we are we can run a a purely research lab like a uh like a like your your do for example because we our advantage is that we have the real business we have the real use case and we have the real data that's the most important thing we have the real data so can we take advantage of our what we have and facilitate the research in a more efficient way i think that's what we think but once again for a company for a corporate we we also want to make sure that we do the thing for the long term because if you always want think about apply to the business that's all about short term because it's all driven by the business needs why not you do it in the business rather than a research lab so so so every month we have a we have a meeting to review the the the the the the topics the themes teams want to do and but we try to keep something unchanged for the long term and when you say term what what time horizon are you thinking of i think it's about it's i think it's about like uh uh tens of years tens of years yeah thank you uh you you mentioned bitcoin so i have a question here about this too and hong liang and yushin liu what do you think about the future of commerce in regards to cryptocurrency do you see this as a tool that would improve or hamper the way transactions are done on a global scale in the future well it's possible i would say because today uh the the payment the settlement already already digitalized but with the existing currencies right but in the future i think uh for the e for the convenience of trading for the convenience of transaction i think this uh i think uh this could there is there could be another option uh but uh but i think this should driven by the real needs of the of the people around this ecosystem it's possible yeah now it's certainly a um hot topic these days there's no question about that uh so alex from jpl and dong-mei huang and and i would guess quite a few people in the audience would like to know about the beautiful background you have behind you well oh i'm sitting in my in my office in beijing uh this is this is my real background it's not a it's not a picture it's a real background because we our head office in in hangzhou a city not far from shanghai i think it's a very beautiful city and that city is our is where alibaba was born and we have our core commerce business there and but now we beijing is more like our second largest uh uh headquarter and we we have these the the the double double uh headquarters uh strategy so one in council one in beijing we have more than like 10 000 people in beijing and most of them are technology people and we have some business people here as well so i have to i have to spend some time with my my team in beijing so that's why i'm here and i'm good to take this opportunity to to to meet all of you from from from my beautiful office in beijing [Laughter] yes and uh we we we appreciate you doing that we were talking earlier of course that you actually got in very late last night so we were particularly appreciative of the fact that you could take the time to do this i've a number of questions not surprisingly about uh how the tensions between the u.s and china affect alibaba and how you think about that and the prospects for alibaba in this kind of current political environment well uh there is a lot of uncertainties i mean uh between u.s china uh relationship
but also not only us china but also the whole world of china to the world uh i would say uh alibaba as a com as a platform company uh we always uh believe uh to have a bridge is so important so we wanna be a bridge uh for the for different economies for different businesses so i think that's good and for the for the whole society it's yes we were grown in china but with day one we think we want to serve the people in the whole world and like in the u.s our biggest job is to help the us business to develop their business in china help the u.s farmers help the u.s most small enterprises to sell their products to china because china is the largest consumer market in the world everybody uh wanted relevant to china because it's not about china it's about the chinese chinese consumers and also we we strongly believe that technology is no no boundary uh we strongly believe that we need to exchange the ideas exchange the the technologies with all the different people in the world and including the italian people in the from from the from the campus and so i think that that's uh i think that's we we think that that's at the end of day that's the the common wish for all the people and uh as a company we want to do what we can do to to facilitate this and to help the uh to once again to be a good company for the whole society it's a supposed society is not only about china but the whole world and so when you think about reaching out to the whole world how do you tailor your platforms your pride products to different societies well that's very important uh well tom i think uh speaking of like like a consumer business well it's i think consumption is about uh it's about culture it's not about business it's about the lifestyle so you have to tailor-made you have to understand the local lifestyle you have to understand what people need in the local market and also i think so that's why we we always strongly believe is not we want to build a model one and we want to replicate to different markets that's not what we do uh we want to tailor-made and so that's why when we we even had a multi-brand strategy when we when we think about when you look at alibaba's business in different markets so it's not like a one universal model applied to the whole world we don't believe that we believe you have to understand and respect the local situation and and identify the opportunity and the developer that a a business model which fit for the local development and also this also gives the opportunity to the local people so when we talk about alibaba's globalization we don't want to we we don't want to think about the china to the globe we think about it's like we work together with the local people especially young talents to help them to build their business help them to be an entrepreneur and create their platform and we are very help happy to be a helper to to support them that's it you mentioned earlier um about reading and your love of reading and daniel fu asks what are some of the most influential books you've read in terms of developing your leadership and learning capability well i i read many books but i don't think that there is uh there is a a purely because of a book give you a huge impact to be honest i would say i i learn more from the real interaction of people and from from from from from different people and like i said uh when i uh after so many years working with jack and based on my previous experience i i spent two years with 10 child i learned i learned a lot from them and they they they are a great business leader but with different characteristics and in different sector and with different style but you can learn from different people and the way but when you read is more like you give you some chance to to think about and and highlight something but i don't think based on my personal experience i don't think a book can already change is not about because of a specific book which which gave me a huge impact thank you so we have one final time for one final question and this is from ashley zhang and she wants to know what the next big trend in tech is going to be other than a.i but it's sort of niels bohr famously said it's difficult to make predictions especially when they involve the future so we understand well i'm strongly believe i'm a strong believer i always say the biotech uh will also be able to change the whole world it's not about yes ai is part of this and ai is a capability in this but i don't i think i think because today we everybody understand that everybody wanna build better life everybody not only want to be live longer but live healthier so i think uh biotech it's a it's a universal theme in many many sectors but this will will change the world i mean uh i mean in the next 20 30 years uh so such a different way great well thank you daniel and let me thank you for your generosity of your time and the thought it's really been a wonderful opportunity to learn from you and i want to leave you with the last word thank you tom once again thank you for contact to uh for for having me in this conversation i i love to spend i i i highly value my life in campus and from time to time when i have a visit to some other cities then i if i have time i i i prefer to having a work in the campus and enjoy the fresh air and enjoy some conversation in touch with the young people i think today is a very good opportunity to meet all of you uh even i can i cannot see see see all of you except for tom but i think it's good to have these i mean virtual tools supporting us to get together but once again as we experience today i think the virtual uh because of technology uh change our working style changed a lot and we can have this conversation online but i think i look forward to meeting many of you in person are in the future when everything back to normal and i think in-person interaction still very very important and technology can be a good supporter but cannot fully replace of this interpersonal experience once again thank you for for joining me and uh it's good to meet uh to to spend time with you and look forward to seeing you in person in the future thank you look forward to seeing you in person and thank you everyone for joining us