World Internet Conference 2015: Top quotes from the opening day of China’s annual three-day event
Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi
When I founded Xiaomi, my goal was to make good smartphones that would capture the hearts of users. Many Chinese companies believe that they should treat customers like they are God, but I believe that we should treat our customers as friends [and build a relationship with them]. To build a company that can last through centuries, you need to be the real deal, you need substance.
Xiaomi does not emphasise goals [such as smartphone sales] anymore, because I want to get rid of traditional key performance indicators. We need to go back to our original mission - to make a good product for our users - instead of being affected by external judgements or numbers.
I hope that Xiaomi can represent China as we move to [penetrate] more countries worldwide. Many people ask me when Xiaomi will expand to South Korea or the United States, but I think we need some time. We need to move one step at a time to bring the Xiaomi user experience to a global audience.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group
The internet is the new engine of China’s economic development. The transaction record of the Singles Day festival has reached 91.2 billion yuan [HK$109.4 billion], reflecting China’s strong internal demand. Alibaba has created about 10 million direct employment opportunities, and 3.5 million indirect employment opportunities.
[On Alibaba's purchase of the South China Morning Post]: Trust us. Why do people have to think that if we have [bought it], it will lose its independence? We also read the newspapers. We also want media independence and fairness. What basis is there that with us, there will be no more independence?
Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Lenovo
The world is changing quickly and there is much uncertainty. Technological innovation and business models are what moves the Chinese economy, and it is important to push for internet innovation.
But many entrepreneurs today are not practical. To make strides in business, it is not just about innovation but also about policies, and even international situations. As entrepreneurs, you need to be forward-looking. There may be many external factors that are out of your control, but you need to make considerations and carefully analyse those that you can manage.
Elizabeth Ujarura, acting deputy director of Namibia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
We need to balance security and democracy. Internet freedom should not compromise the national security of a country. We also need to make sure everybody can have easy access to the internet and share information. When we draft [internet] laws, we need to balance these two elements. It’s also important to have a set of harmonised international standards [for cybersecurity].
China is ahead of us. It has huge resources and technological know-how. We are engaging a lot of people from the Chinese government, who are operating in Namibia. We need investment on infrastructure development ... because of a lack of resources. China can assist developing countries in getting the infrastructure, through bilateral or multilateral agreements. After we resolve the issue of infrastructure, then we can address the affordability of internet services and devices.
Zhou Hanhua, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
The five proposals by [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] have received the full backing from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and other state leaders. This is closely linked to our “one belt, one road” strategy. These countries are all part of the “one belt, one road” plan. The internet can help these civilisations increase exchanges, and can also help Chinese business to develop e-commerce.
Dallas Han, student delegate from Princeton University
It’s positive to see the Chinese government looking at, with credibility, the issue of [cybersecurity] that nations have been confronting for some time. The internet provides us with a lot of opportunities. With these opportunities come a lot of ground for misinformation, manipulation and evil deeds of all stripes. To combat that, I think we need to have leaders from different perspective and cultures to talk and show the need for the world to jointly address these issues. I have faith that [Western countries and China] can come together and see how we can jointly shape the internet.
Ophir Gottesgnade, Pi Consulting
I think [Xi Jinping] touched on the right issue, especially on security. As to how to combine internet freedom and security, it would be good [to find a balance]. I think governments should create a safe place for everybody. They should not only make it safe on the streets, but also on the internet. That will be good for all of us.