Jack Ma, the CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, gave an interview at Davos with Bloomberg TV’s Charlie Rose, in which he talked about Alibaba’s growth and history.
During the interview in Switzerland, Ma reflected on the effects of the company’s growth from a Chinese web startup to a global e-commerce giant.
Alibaba’s September 2014 IPO set a world record for the biggest public offering, rising to $US25 billion in value.
“For the first three years, we made zero revenue,” Ma said. But eventually the site’s fortunes picked up, and people in China began using Alibaba as a platform to sell their goods and run businesses online.
Ma told the audience at Davos this story about a time where he realised the impact that Alibaba was having:
I went to a restaurant to go for dinner. And when I tried to pay the bill, the owner of the restaurant came to say “Sir, your bill is paid by someone.” And there was a small note saying “Hey, Mr Ma, I’m your customer of Alibaba group, I made a lot of money and I know you don’t make any money. I’ll pay the bill for you.”
That’s not the only time that people in China have wanted to thank Ma, though. He also claimed that when he was buying coffee someone sent him a cigar with a note thanking him for making Alibaba. But Jack Ma says he doesn’t smoke.