Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, believes that his company will be worth more than the world’s fifth-largest economy, bigger than United Kingdom and France, and create 100 million jobs in next twenty years.
“If a company can serve two billion consumers, which is one-third of the total population of the world, if a company can create 100 million jobs that is probably bigger than most governments can do. If a company can support 10 million profitable businesses on its platform, this is called an economy,” Ma was quoted as saying at company investors at Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.
He forecasted that his company could become the world’s fifth biggest economy by 2036, trailing only the US, China, Europe and Japan. Alibaba wants to earn $1 trillion in gross merchandise volume by 2020 to become the world’s 16th or 17th largest economy, bigger than Turkey or Saudi Arabia.
“Well, people say, this is too big,” Ma said of the scale of Alibaba’s ambition. “It costs nothing to imagine, right?”
Alibaba, which has revenue of $23.5 billion last year, is still far behind the stalwarts like Alphabet and Amazon which have reportedly revenues of $90 billion and $136 billion respectively. Ma claimed his prediction on the number of goods transacted on his platforms and the potential number of customers and according to him, the Chinese e-commerce giant is still just “a baby.”
This year at World Economic Forum’s annual outing at Davos, his key piece of advice to every government, the 30-30-30 focus became the matter of talk. He elaborated it as pay attention to the next 30 years, pay attention to the 30 year olds and pay attention to companies that have less than 30 employees.
In Hangzhou, in front of thousands of global investors, Ma planted the flag and claimed that his company would one day become one of the world’s most powerful economies by serving 2 billion people and helping 10 million small businesses trade freely on the web. He also predicts that, the China will only be able to provide 40 percent of that market; the rest will have to be found overseas.
Ma has spent years cultivating an image of a rebel fighting the system, knocking down walls protecting state-owned enterprises and becoming a billionaire in the process.
He has planted the sapling of his web based version of the World Trade Organization and hinted to expand the horizon of Alibaba in One Belt One Road (OBOR) region is expected to grow rapidly.
Once he said, “Business is all about five, 10 years later. That’s why I have to travel, I have to listen, and I have to think a lot of things that might seem crazy. All small businesses should think out of their town, out of their city, out of their country. If you’re a real entrepreneur, there is always curiosity. If you don’t have curiosity, you’re a retired entrepreneur.
He spent most of his time travelling; in fact he flies more than 870 hours in a calendar year and has visited more than 40 countries to meet top leaders of those countries.
On his view on Alibaba’s economy being fifth largest on the globe, will it be over anticipated statement or a gut feeling from the online merchant giant head and richest person of the Asia? May be time will tell us one day.