Ahead of his upcoming trip to New York and Chicago, Jack Ma wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal detailing his plans for Alibaba in America: “We want to help U.S entrepreneurs, small business owners, and brands and companies of all sizes sell their goods to the growing Chinese consumer class.”
Jack says that he is “100% made in China”, but he feels a kinship with America, praising the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans which he says are “role models” for the world. His own life was heavily influenced by the U.S. when he discovered the Internet while on a trip to Seattle and learned to speak English from American tourists who were visiting China; experiences which would eventually help inspire then young Jack to create the Alibaba Group.
“Alibaba Group was founded in China but created for the world.”
Jack explains that Alibaba’s mission is to “level the playing field”, empowering small but entrepreneurial American businesses with the means and the channels to find consumers, especially the rapidly growing Chinese middle class. According to Ma, the Chinese middle class is currently the same size as the entire U.S. population, and it will only continue to grow. Because of a lack of ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores in China, much of this commerce is done online, and the U.S. should seek out these consumers who are hungry for high-quality American goods.
He sites the sale of American cherries in China as a case in point. In 2014, Alibaba sold 600 tons of cherries from the American Pacific Northwest to Chinese consumers. With Alibaba’s help, could America become a major exporter to China?