Jack Ma

'I made cruel decisions,' said Jack Ma of his illustrious career

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 8:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 July, 2013, 12:39pm

Here is a collection of the most memorable quotes from the South China Morning Post's interview with Jack Ma Yun. 

  • I don’t think it [Alibaba] is an “empire”. I always believe we shouldn’t build an “empire”, instead, we should build an “ecosystem”. Every empire will be toppled someday, but an ecosystem is sustainable.
  • Our technique, management, idea, operation and personnel system are international, and we don’t feel we are different from Amazon, eBay, Google and Facebook.
  • We want government support, but many current policies can’t help. Innovation must go beyond the current system. The so-called innovation in the current system is not the real one, but a kind of improvement.
  • Innovation of this industry is always from other industries. Stones from other mountains may serve to polish the jade of this one.
  • If the company needs me, I am always here. But I won’t be the CEO again. As Alibaba’s Chairman of the board and founder, I am here anytime if you need me. But I won’t operate the company.
  • I am just lucky to do the right things at the right time. We are just the lucky ones in this time. Like all successful people, we are not more capable or energetic.
  • I made cruel decisions when thousands of Alibaba’s customers were involved in fraud, and when we adjusted Alipay’s structure. As the CEO of a company, you have to do that. It’s like Deng Xiaoping, the then top leader, had to make cruel decisions during the June 4 crackdown for the country’s stability.
  • I think the Chinese government is terrific. Many foreigners say the government controls the internet. If it is true, China’s internet censorship is very advanced, because China still has 600 million internet users and has three or four of the world’s top 10 internet companies.
  • Even if the small fishes unite, it’s useless. In this world, things only work after big fishes reach consensus.
  • Chinese people have money now but have no brains. Chinese people’s wallets are full, but their minds are empty. If we don’t develop cultural industries, China will still be an unsustainable upstart country. Entertainment and culture might be the best things to make people understand how to live.
  • China is already an international market. China will be the market where all companies compete in 10 years.

Vicky Feng contributed to this story.