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Jack Ma: Economic Downturn is 'Growing Pain of Globalization'

Jack Ma discussed the future of e-commerce and entrepreneurship at a talk at the Asia Society. (Bill Swersey/Asia Society)
by Stephanie Valera
12 March 2009

NEW YORK, March 12, 2009 - The head of China's biggest ecommerce
company and pioneer of the Chinese Internet industry says the economic
downturn is "not a crisis, but a growing pain of globalization."

In a discussion at the Asia Society, founder and CEO of Alibaba Group Jack Ma
urged Americans to re-embrace the entrepreneurial spirit that made
America great, and to take action and look for opportunities now,
stating that a period of economic downturn is the best time to "get
back to basics, and get back to values."

further expressed optimism about American companies, many of which he
finds inspirational. "Ten years [from now], I believe there will be
more successful companies," he said. However, he stressed the
importance of "putting customers first."

to Ma, despite the current economic climate, Alibaba Group and its
businesses, which include Taobao.com, China's largest consumer
ecommerce company, and Alipay.com, a leading online payment platform,
are thriving. Alibaba Group has plans to hire an additional 5,000 in
2009, and is on a recruiting drive to lure US engineers and workers to

Ma also said that Alibaba Group is
looking to expand in the US. He and other Alibaba senior managers have
recently met with Silicon Valley companies such as eBay, Yahoo!,
Google, Microsoft, and Apple to discuss prospective partnerships.

Reported by Stephanie Valera, Asia Society Online