Former English teacher Jack Ma founded Alibaba out of his small apartment in 1999. The Chinese e-commerce giant starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange this morning and it will be the largest IPO in the history of the US stock market.
Ma created the company with the help of 17 friends — and the first speech that he ever gave to the team was caught on film.
It’s almost surreal to see this man, who’s now worth about $US10 billion, earnestly asking the team, “So what will Alibaba become in the future?”
Even way back then, when many people in China didn’t even understand what the internet was, Ma saw Alibaba becoming a global powerhouse. Watching the speech you can see his ambition (“Our competitors are not in China, but in America’s Silicon Valley”) and well as his idealism.
After conceding that the tech bubble and spree of sky-high IPOs of the late 90s and early 2000s couldn’t last forever, he says that at least “the dream of the internet won’t burst.”
The documentary tells Alibaba’s incredible founding story through old footage and photos, and highlights how it managed to beat out eBay in China despite being the underdog in almost every way.
Watch the entire speech: