An engrossing, insider’s account of how a teacher built one of the world’s most valuable companies—rivaling Walmart & Amazon—and forever reshaped the global economy. In just a decade and half Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers. Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise. How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80% market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.? Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.
The impact of Alibaba is not fully appreciated outside China as much as it is within China. Outside China, people may have known the big IPO of Alibaba ($25 billion in 2014) and perhaps some odd founder but I don’t think they understand how much the Internet has changed people’s lives and, particularly, companies such as Alibaba boosted that process. Without the internet, it’s hard to imagine how China would have evolved over the last few decades and how the private sector would have driven the county forward.
When it comes to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, he is presented as a very entertaining person. The book goes back to his youth, the struggles and the failures that he had in the past. Jack is a self-made man, not interested in the government-connected privileged Harvard types. Moreover, he is a kind of icon in China as he did not come from a great family. He did not have a great educational background and yet he was able to achieve a position of business magnate, investor, philanthropist and a global ambassador for Chinese business. He started out as a translator but, simultaneously, was selling carpets on the side to make ends meet. The book also tells a few stories which depict how tough his career was. For instance, once he tried to get a job at KFC, together with other 23 candidates. The only person who was rejected was Jack.
Later, the book focuses on his business endeavours. On one hand, the book presents him as a very dedicated and passionate entrepreneur, focused on customers, employees and technology. On the other hand, the story clearly underlines that he didn’t have any clear vision of making business on the internet and, actually, he and his companies have evolved based on issues he got to grips with.
In great majority, the book focuses on the story of Alibaba and Taobao. How these companies looked like at the beginning and how they have performed over time. It is worth to say that for almost five years the whole platform was free and the goal was to provide business-to-business (B2B), consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales via its platform. These companies were far from being successful overnight, however, the book provides a logical and disciplined approach of shaping their current structure and values. The book also details the scale of the business based on the singles’ day in 2015, the equivalent of Black Friday, when Alibaba’s website generated four hundred and sixty-seven million packages requiring more than 1.7 million couriers and 400,000 vehicles to deliver the goods. It also states that Alibaba would not be the giant as it is today without its army of couriers which adopted clever methods to keep the cost at rock-bottom. In Shanghai, for instance, couriers shuttled back and forth on the subway passing packages over barriers to one another to avoid buying multiple tickets.
The book is also a riveting story of how the company competed with major multinational conglomerates specialising in e-commerce and retail. It was really interesting to read about how a better understanding of local customs has helped Alibaba to battle much bigger companies such as E-bay, Google or PayPal.
The one thing about why is Alibaba so impactful is Jack’s formulation of the iron triangle. this is bringing together e-commerce, finance... (if you like to read my full review please visit my blog https://leadersarereaders.blog/alibab...)
Never underestimate Jack Ma. Those 4 words are the repeated storyline of this book. While this "school teacher" may come across as humble and common, his fondness for Forest Gump is foretelling. For those who liked The Everything Store story of Amazon, this book is the best English account of the unlikely tale of Alibaba and a Gump-like character known to the world as Jack Ma. Read this book and you will find that China has quite a few insights to teach the west about online shopping. Far more Chinese consumers order their groceries online than groups in the west and the levels of customer service provided set a very high comparative mark. The SARS scare had a huge impact on Alibaba and also e-commerce in China as it drove more people to shop online when they didn't want to be exposed to a pandemic.
With a Gump-like ending, Jack has vast successes that seem pedestrian. The results run much deeper than luck, never underestimate Jack Ma.
Thanks to Duncan Clark for making jack ma’s bio so boring.. the writing was very poor.. I have seen some talks of jack ma, those were very inspiring.. I wanted to learn more about him and very interestingly started this book. My interest was spoilt almost in the beginning itself.. the basic structure of the bio itself was not planned properly..a half baked narration..
I think some author like Walter Isaacson must do jack ma’s bio cos Ma deserves more..
Take a look at the title of the book: "Alibaba : The House That Jack Ma Built". Now ask yourself: what will this book be about? A. Alibaba, the company founded by Jack Ma B. Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneurial tycoon C. The situation in China wrt entrepreneurship, online businesses and the Internet. D. The various e-commerce businesses in China, whether those in direct competition with Alibaba's sites or those providing supporting services such as online payment, logistics, etc.
The answer shall be revealed later in this review. Hold your horses until then. :P
There's no doubting the Alibaba magic, or Jack Ma's role in revolutionising e-commerce in China. Jack Ma is almost entirely self-made. An average student coming from a regular middle-class family, Ma describes himself as “100% made in China” as he hasn't studied abroad. He learnt English from his parents and by reading books and then practising his conversational skills with tourists. Ma left his teaching job behind when the entrepreneurial bug bit him. After two failed attempts, he hit the jackpot with Alibaba. Today, the company hosts the largest B2B (Alibaba.com), C2C (Taobao), and B2C (Tmall) marketplaces in the world with an annual revenue of $72 billion. As a person, Jack Ma is simple, humorous and technology-averse. (The last point is quite ironic, considering his entire wealth is based on technological development.) He is known to be a great orator, but he never prepares for his speeches, preferring to speak without notes. He firmly believes in “Customers first, employees second, shareholders last”, and emphasises on the importance of supporting small businesses on his websites. Every single aspect of him points at a person who has gone far beyond what should have been possible for him in a communist country. This should have been such an interesting and inspiring journey to read about.
Unfortunately, it isn’t. Reason: Duncan Clark.
Ideally, the book should have focused on all four of the points I wrote at the start, but with a greater focus on A and B, especially as it has Jack Ma on the cover. The Goodreads blurb suggests that the main focus will be on Jack Ma with a secondary focus on Alibaba. What we actually get is a potful of A, a spoonful of B and a barrelful of C and D, each.
Other than Jack Ma and Alibaba, the book talks of competitor strategies of ecommerce companies in China and other Asian countries such as those of eBay, Yahoo and PayPal (who competed with AliPay), the dot-com boom and bust and resurgence, the subsidiary industries that developed in China because of the internet, the Chinese attitude towards online shopping then and now, the counterfeit goods problem and the action being taken with respect to the same, the financial struggles of the companies after the American financial crisis of 2008,… Basically, it goes all over the place and covers whatever topics Clark deemed fit to include. Furthermore, there is not much structure to the content. Rather, Clark goes where his mind takes him, leaving us to remember what the original point of that section was.
I would have still let this aberration go, if the book were written in an engrossing way. Sadly, Duncan Clark might be an expert on the Internet and entrepreneurship in China, but a writer he is not. The book is written in a bland manner even though the content is so interesting. When I saw sentences such as “Let us take a brief tour’ or “Let us look more into this”, I was reminded of all those dreary textbooks I’ve left behind eons ago.
That said, there are many precious gems to be found in the content. You get a crash course on how to run a successful business with the various anecdotes scattered in the story, both related to Jack Ma as well as the other ecommerce magnates. In a world where businesses are increasingly concentrating on the bottom line, Jack Ma teaches you that focussing on the entire value chain, right from suppliers to customers, ensures greater long-term rewards. We also see how the one-size-fits-all approach of international companies doesn’t work; the local culture and ideology has to be taken into consideration if you want to be a success. So if you can keep all quibbles regarding the haphazard composition of the book, you will definitely stand to benefit from its content.
Oh, but how I wish someone like Ashlee Vance would have written this book! :/
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This is a company biography of the Alibaba group in China. In parallel, it is an official biography of Jack Ma, the Chinese entrepreneur and former English instructor who is behind the growth of Alibaba. The book is written by a former Morgan Stanley analyst who got to know Jack Ma during the time when he advised Alibaba. The book is largely descriptive and follows the firm from its inception up through its recent IPO. There is even a concluding section updating the group since the IPO. The overall tone of the book is highly positive and complimentary. Alibaba is presented as a major player in China and the Internet more generally and the presentation of how it grew to such a place of prominence is a story to explain the very favorable trajectory that the firm's activities have traced. It is not a critical treatment of Ma or of Alibaba, although the book does not gloss over issues either. It is informative and even interesting and I recommend it to anyone wishing to be up to date with Chinese business and economic developments and wishing to get beyond the snibbets of gossip that pass for new in the popular press or on certain platforms, such as CNBC. While I need to supplement this with other material, the book was fairly effective.
I would have liked more analysis, but that was clearly not on the author's to do list here. To start with, popular treatments of Internet businesses almost always fail to develop the economic reality of these businesses. How does one make money on the Internet at all? What is the difference between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) or C2C (consumer to consumer)? eBay, Amazon, and Alibaba are different firms but most people will have trouble telling you why? Similarly, the scale issue is huge here, but not really presented well. For many Internet businesses, scale is nearly everything, yet in some markets such as China in the 1990s and early 2000s, scale was hugely difficult and allowances needed to be made for local markets. This was crucial to the issues between eBay, Yahoo, and Alibaba (TaoBao) but the issues are not well explained in the book.
Another area that is crucial for these businesses is what are sometimes called "agency" problems - which boil down to issues of trust and corruption avoidance. We take these for granted, even though many people will have trouble explaining how they have determined ebay's strategy, for example. In China, all the agency problems are magnified and Internet platforms that failed to deal with them failed as businesses. What Ma did and failed to do with Alibaba is important and could have stood more discussion. I have ceased to think that "Alibaba" in this context implies an association with "40 thieves" or something similar, but it is not obvious.
There are lots of other interesting questions raised by the book. Obvious ones deal with Ma as the founder and the importance of his charisma - and of being bilingual in doing business with China.. There are also issues of corporate versus business strategy that are fascinating. How do the different businesses that make up the Alibaba Group fit together? Is it necessary to combine a B2B business with a C2C business with a payment business (Alipay in some form)? Why does Ma need all of them versus just hiring some firm to help? The conclusion even raises an issue that Alibaba has in common with the other large Internet firms - that of becoming a platform for a full range of Internet services and as a result launching a acquisition binge so that Alibaba starts looking like a Chinese version of Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apple. ....and there is also the issue of relations with the Chinese government and its "Great Firewall of China".
This was a fun read and is very accessible. Have a map of China handy. I would also suggest going to some the the website mentioned in the book to see what they are like and how hospitable they can be to western browsers.
Duncan Clark đã kể một câu chuyện hết sức thú vị về Jack Ma, từ một cậu bé hiếu học ở Hàng Châu, một thầy giáo tỉnh lẻ trở thành CEO của Alibaba, một công ty thương mại điện tử hết sức thành công cả ở Trung Quốc lẫn trên thế giới. Cuốn sách đã lý giải những lý do dẫn đến thành công của Jack Ma: một phần lớn đến từ tính cách và sự khôn ngoan của ông, nhưng cũng nhờ đến những yếu tố khác như sự trỗi dậy của Internet ở Trung Quốc, những bước đi sai lầm của các công ty cạnh tranh khác như Yahoo, eBay,...
Một số ghi chú từ sách:
- Thuở bé, Jack Ma là một thanh niên rất hiếu học. Ông ham muốn được học tiếng Anh, nên đã rất nhiệt tình hướng dẫn các du khách nước ngoài đến Hàng Châu để có cơ hội thực tập tiếng Anh. Ông thậm chí còn được một gia đình người Úc yêu mến đến mức họ giữ liên lạc suốt nhiều năm về sau và ông bố của gia đình đó còn tài trợ tiền cho Jack đi học đại học.
- Tính cách của Jack một phần được định hình từ thuở nhỏ, khi bố mẹ ông rất yêu thích pingtan, một thể loại diễn xướng văn hóa dân gian của Trung Quốc. Bản thân ông cũng rất yêu thích truyện kiếm hiệp Kim Dung. Thế nên sau này, Jack có thể nói là một CEO rất "triết gia", ông thường đưa ra những bài học mang đậm chất kiếm hiệp và nhiều so sánh, bài học rất dễ nhớ. Rất nhiều phát biểu của Jack Ma đã trở thành châm ngôn được chia sẻ trên mạng.
- Trước Alibaba, Jack đã trải qua thất bại với hai công ty khác của ông: công ty dịch thuật Hi Vọng và China Pages. Tuy thất bại, những công ty này đã giúp Jack đúc kết nhiều kinh nghiệm cho sự thành công của Alibaba sau này.
- Thành công của Alibaba đến từ ba khía cạnh: thương mại điện tử, hậu cần kho vận và tài chính.
- Khi Trung Quốc bắt đầu tiếp cận Internet, nổi lên nhất là ba cổng thông tin điện tử: Sina, Sohu và NetEase. Các người thành lập các cổng thông tin này đều có kiến thức cao về công ngh��. Lúc này, Jack vẫn đang làm việc mòn mỏi ở MOFTEC (bộ công thương Trung Quốc), ông quyết định sẽ phải mở công ty mới để đón cơn gió Internet mới đến Trung Quốc này, dẫn đến sự thành lập của Alibaba.
- Hiện tại, các công ty công nghệ lớn ở Trung Quốc gồm: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent. Mặc dù các công ty bắt đầu mở rộng lĩnh vực kinh doanh, nhưng ban đầu: Baidu mạnh về tìm kiếm, Alibaba hướng về thương mại điện tử, còn Tencent làm giàu nhờ tin nhắn giá rẻ và trò chơi điện tử online.
“Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. However, the majority of people will die tomorrow night .”
Jack Ma’s quote finds resonance with any team/organization striving towards a lofty goal. There are days in your professional life when you are on the verge of throwing it all away and walking off and a lot many of us do just that. But still a few still persevere and this hard work eventually finds it’s worthy rewards. Alibaba’s rise to prominence in China is a chronicle of how hard work, perseverance, luck and a canny business acumen can take you a long way. It is also the story of the charismatic Jack Ma whose soundbites have since then made him a darling of social media. The book however focusses more on Alibaba as a company than it does on Jack Ma as an individual. While their lives are more or less intertwined, there is but precious little you can take away about Jack Ma especially from the years after he became the successful head of the entire Alibaba umbrella. The author has had a direct access to Jack and he uses it along with his own personal connections to weave a pretty good yarn.
China has been a consumer market that businesses have been keen to explore and tap into but with governmental focus being what it is, how would a business find its footing ? The struggles Jack underwent until the creation and eventual success of Taobao and Tmall is also a history of internet fuelled entrepreneurship in China. While the author does not go into too much of detail, the gradual lowering of walls in China is a factor that helped usher in a new age. A few of the internet portals rose to prominence prior to the entry of Yahoo into the mix and all this while Jack slowly kept his company going. The eventual all-trumpets-blaring arrival of eBay changed the whole outlook about Alibaba and the eventual humbling of this global major cemented Jack’s position as a tech tycoon to watch out for. All through the eBay v/s Alibaba battle, the shrewdness that Jack and his second-in-command Joe Tsai exhibit makes for great reading. The book ends with the IPO V2.0 of the firm and also ponders on some of the challenges that the road ahead might bring for Alibaba.
The material in here is just splendid. You cannot really read about the contributions of people like Jack Ma, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin/Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg et al without being truly impressed at the scale with which their businesses have grown and how they touch our lives virtually . But even with such a treasure trove of information, the book suffers from superficiality at a lot of places. For instance where the subject matter would have asked for a detailed analysis (like the business strategy at Alibaba), the author skips over with only a customary view at things. It would have been understandable if this was done for Jack Ma’s biography but considering the fact that it is biography of the company, this did not sit too well with me. Ironically I also felt that at places where brevity would have admirably done the job in conveying the message to the reader, there is quite a lot of information poured out.
It is a good read to perhaps start off in understanding Jack Magic but a deeper and more analytical view of the organization would have done wonders as a book.
Note : The rating is somewhere in the hinterlands between a 3 and a 4 star.
От друга страна доста разхвърляно на моменти - малко непоследователно и на места информацията е "като спусната с парашут" (сякаш читателят някога е чувал за инвестиционните клъстъри в Китай).
Книгата освен това е около 1/3 за Джак Ма и Alibaba (и всички нейни производни, някои от които се появяват в само 2 страници - AliExpress наприемер) и 2/3 за Китай, навлизането на интернет в страната, за всички видове конкуренти - преки и не съвсем преки на Alibaba; има малко за здраве, спорт, медий и развлечения (нови посоки за разрастване на компанията).
Маркетингова стратеги и развитие на компанията почти не се споменават. Тук-таме има две-три изречения за отношението на компанията към служителите. Култура и пр. - липсва като описание. Затова пък има куп информация за инвестиции, сливания и придобивания, брой потребители и пазарна капитализация.
Биографични данни за самия Джак Ма също не изобилстват - бих казала, че дори изцяло липсват.
Като цяло не съжалявам, че я прочетох, но ми се искаше да е малко по-структурирана, малко по-подредена и по-информативна.
Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built is a biography of Jack Ma, founder of the "Amazon of the East" Alibaba. The book is written by a former Morgan Stanley employee, Duncan Clark, who has had a close relationship with the company since its inception in the late 1990's. Alibaba is a decent biography, chronicling the rise of Alibaba and the "Jack Magic" its multilingual and entrepreneurial founder brought to the table. Jack is an interesting character, as he has lead his company through the inception of the internet in China, the dot-com bust in 2000, and the rise of competitors like Google in the post bust period. He has navigated the choppy waters of international investment in China, balancing the needs of foreign investors, like Japan's Softbank or USA's Yahoo, while maintaining control over Alibaba's affairs. He also has the influence of China's SOE's and government agencies to contend with, as internal politics has had an influence on the development of Alibaba's investment in both the mainland and abroad.
Duncan Clark's book is a company biography, first and foremost. It does not skimp on some of the poor investments Alibaba and Jack have made, but always portrays each downswing in a positive manner. This biography is also positively glowing with praise for Jack Ma. The man himself is an interesting case study for a go-getter entrepreneur who never gives up, and is always looking for the next venture. Even so, this is no Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs." The book offers little criticism for Alibaba, but enough for its competitors, like Yahoo and eBay, that it is clear this is a company book, so to speak. There is little in the way of apt criticism, or inward searching, besides Alibaba's alleged ties to China's Communist Party, which are touched on only briefly.
All in all, this is an interesting biography about Alibaba, an extremely successful company with a brilliant founder and innovative business model. It also offers tantalizing glimpses of China's internal marketplace, which I find fascinating. It is, however, a "corporate biography" meaning it is full of praise and reads like a corporate propaganda piece. Even so, it is interesting, insightful and well written, and should offer an interesting biographical account of the rise of one of China's most interesting businessmen and his influential e-commerce platform.
2.5/5 A decent book on the story of Jack Ma and Alibaba. Wish it had been better edited - too much namesdropping and irrelevant info of those ppl. Secondly, this story is more of the story of conflicts with one organisation after another. What about the inside view, not in the gossip sense but in a positive sense ? On the plus side, the book was a good introduction to how China works. The extreme regulation on political dissent and censorship reminds of Islamic theocracies. Also, as the author mentioned, foreign companies win just 4% of the cases they file in China ! And the businesses really like to stay in the good books of govt giving it the feel of crony-capitalism.
After reading Porter Erisman's "Alibaba's World" recently, this book by Duncan Clark is a useful continuation of the Alibaba story for me. Not continuation in the literal sense (since it also covers the period from startup to the second IPO) but rather it adds layers of information which I found useful.
While Erisman actually worked at Alibaba, Duncan Clark on the other hand only consulted for it. As such, I found Erisman's book much more anecdotal (based on his personal experiences), whilst Clark provides a lot more information on the competitive and regulatory challenges facing Alibaba during that time. Other China internet giants like Sohu, Sina, NetEase, Tencent, Baidu, etc are covered in sufficient detail (including its battle with the then uber internet giant Yahoo), giving the reader a better grasp of the early battle for China e-commerce supremacy and how Alibaba managed to not only survive but thrive.
Overall, I enjoyed this book very much although there is one minor complaint. Towards the last one third of the book, the number of end note references seemed to mushroom for no good reason. For instance (just examples for illustration, I can't be bothered to go back and hunt for actual sentences) a sentence would go like "In 2010, Alibaba acquired XYZ (9)". When I checked the end note it would read something like "9. For $380 million". Or another example, "then CFO XYZ (3) stated that ....' and the end note would say "3. Now CEO of ABC". I don't understand why the additional information being so short couldn't just be incorporated into the main text. After a while it just got annoying flipping back and forth and seriously interrupted the flow.
The fact that Jack Ma is a visionary who has really championed the internet revolution in China is well known. I bought the book with a lot of intent and curiosity, only to get disappointed. The book is badly structured and lacks an overall narrative - leaving the book as a set of disjointed anecdotes (which are independently interesting). Wish author had spent more time in editing and storytelling...could have been a really interesting read.
Ne kadar çok kitap okursam o kadar fazla hayal kırıklığına uğruyorum. Alibaba: Jack Ma'nın Evi de bu yıl beni hayalkırıklığına uğratan 3. biyografi oldu. Sanırım Walter Isaacson'un Steve Jobs biyografisi ağzımda öyle bir tat bırakmış ki geri kalanların hepsi ders notu gibi derleme haber geliyor.
Benim beklediğim Jack Ma gibi bulunduğu yere (milyar dolar cinsinden) tırnaklarıyla kazıyıp gelmiş birinin doğduğu ortam, onu etkileyen olaylar, hırsı ve çalışkanlığını, yaşadıkları zorlukları ve bu engelleri nasıl aştığını okumaktı. Bulduğumsa Google'dan Jack Ma, Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Yahoo, Ebay yazıp çıkan haberleri ucuca ekleyen, bunları da bir ödev gibi kategorize ederek sonuna referans numaralarını ekleyen bir öğrenci tezi oldu.
Hatta Jack Ma'yı ve Alibaba'yı beklediğim bu kitabın %30'u Ebay, %30'u Yahoo, %20 Alibaba, %10 Jack Ma ve %10 Alibaba'da ne satılır bunlardan oluşuyordu. Alibaba'nın yan kuruluşları bile bu %20'nin içinde.
Kitabın basımı ve diline gelince o da hayalkırıklığı. Zaten kitapçıda görürseniz içini açın dediğimi anlayacaksınız. Dil konusunda da çeviri bana çok ilginç geldi. Aynı paragraf içinde üç farklı zaman gördüm. Hani orijinali böyle bile olsa biraz dilimizde kolay okunurluğu açısından düzeltme yapmak gerekirdi diye düşünüyorum.
Dolayısıyla "bekleneni vermeyen biyografiler" rafındaki yerini aldı.
The first 100 pages feels like a stint from Ocean Eleven. Jack Ma built an industry where internet penetration was non existent. With government watching every step you take, Alibaba transformed how small businesses function in an isolated country. With fierce competition from local players and eBay on the horizon, Jack Ma was able to defend the bastion and led the company to a record breaking IPO. The last 50 pages are average and hence I had to bring down one star. I would highly recommend this book.
A very interesting perspective on the whole Chinese Internet market, not just Alibaba. I learned quite a bit about American companies’ struggles in China, the history of e-commerce battles between Alibaba and eBay, and also how Yahoo’s history was in many ways a story of a successful investment in Alibaba followed by massive mismanagement by the CEO. Add to that the colorful personality of Jack Ma and the involvement of Softbank (its CEO, Masayoshi San has a very different philosophy to Jack) and it makes for an entertaining and enlightening read.
This book follows the route that Jack Ma took from modest beginnings to being one of the richest men in Asia. An insightful read into the difficulties by an individual working to bring the internet and advancing computer technology into China. Jack Ma's first attempt failed basically due to trusting some rather unscrupulous individuals. He waited and almost waited too long before making his second attempt.
This book does give a great deal of insight into Jack's personality, his work ethic, how he motivates his employees as well as gains the trust of business clients and customers. How he dealt with his competitors - Yahoo and ebay, for example - as they tried to break into the Chinese market. The growth of e-commerce as in turn, the government loosened control on financial institutions as well as on business opportunities.
One amusing part was when Jack visited the United States for the first time and thought - quite seriously - that all the businesses were closed because the owners/workers were at their second job. This enforces the image not only of Jack Ma but of the Chinese who are a hard-working people who are unafraid to put in incredible amounts of hours to be successful in their jobs and careers.
By the end of the book, I admittedly was becoming unsettled. Why? Because Jack and his subsidies - even if they were not officially owned by him but by various investors and stockholders - seems to be creating a monopoly of a different sort. You can buy from Alibaba or Taobao or Tmall. You pay for it with Alipay. You get your entertainment from Alibaba Pictures or through Tmall Box Office. He seems to have made agreements not only with the Chinese government as well as the other two big Asian tech companies Baidu and Tencent. Maybe I just don't have the correct mindset understand but it seems a bit too 'Big Brother-ish' to me.
"Alibaba is not a story it is a strategy" the ending lines reverberate the current path the businesses are going on. The investor capital forges the power to launch the cannon which goes through the air of offers and discounts to drive out the competitor from the market. The current economic scenario of loss making businesses to become profitable is the distant future. The free and discounts distorts the market in a way that competition is bound to be destroyed.This is the strategy that Alibaba used to succeed.
The success that Alibaba got is a blend of vision and culture that the company stands for. The customer first approach mixed with employees second strategy is what Alibaba paved the road with. The culture of martial arts characters name was something that Alibaba employees got free apart from the dedication to go through the difficult phases be it late night works or SARS.
This book gives you a good management education through central protagonist Jack Ma and other Chinese entrepreneurs. China is a market that is hard to crack due to its government regulations and heretical consumers yet, those who cracked it reaped the benefits and surely Jack magic did that. Cultural clashes can be pain: is taught by this book and need to taken into consideration while mergers and acquisitions.
From a old side apartment in Hangzhou to headquarters in China is surely a strategy of Forest Gump and a stubborn 💓.
Great story about the history of internet and ecommerce in China, and how Jack Ma succeeded to be the father-like winner in the competition.
The book tells interesting story of Jack’s early entrepreneurship ventures (China Pages) that didn’t succeed and what he learned from there. Having visited Hangzhou personally it was captivating to read the encounters happened to Jack near West Lake
The book also covers chronological development of China’s dot-com-boom ventures in early 2000. As a westerner you’ve never heard of companies like Sina, Sohu and NetEase, which were China’s largest portal websites at the time.
It’s funny and surely well-inteded that the story always underlines how all the entrepreneurs were well-educated in IVY league schools in the US, before returning and venturing in China, while Jack had only teacher qualification from a low-tier Chinese university.
The book is easy to read, the author is well-informed (being Jack’s friend). At the same time the book is overly positive and perhaps lacks some more uncomfortable analysis.
Nevertheless, this is a must read if you’d like to understand China and it’s development to internet economy
A very detailed account of China’s dotcom era and the rise and fall of the many. I liked the super-fast pace of the book, which is probably because there was so much to cover in such a short period of time. One of the few books I couldn’t let go till I had read it cover to cover.
It’s a must read for anyone who wants to understand how China’s dotcom became the global engine that it is today and what to expect if Alibaba comes to your country. In my own context, it was a very interesting read, given the recent acquisition of Pakistan’s biggest online e-commerce portal Daraz.pk by Alibaba.
A must read for all and be sure to keep your eyes on Alibaba!
In Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, Duncan Clark has an eclectic collection of what could have been interesting stories IF written and structured well. Unfortunately for the reader, this book disappoints. Clark never really builds a narrative, and despite what seems like an earnest effort, is unable to give us the much-needed depth into who Jack Ma is. In my opinion, the book is a very mediocre initial foray into the charismatic entrepreneur and his baby, Alibaba. I would recommend holding off until a better biography is released.
More like 3.5 stars. I’m a big fan of Jack Ma and Alibaba, but this biography just didn’t do a great job of introducing the reader to him. It was adequate, but focused on a lot of pointless details in some places, and short on facts and analysis on other places. It is especially hard to see how replicable what he did really is. The book felt sometimes fawning to a degree which really calls into question overall objectivity, too.
Damn, why would a writer make such a nice read as if writing clutter down the wall on street. I never understood the point of having those notes at the end of book. I mean when someone is trying to speed read at 350 wpm, I would flip pages back to end of book 37 times, for a chapter of with pages not even 36. The rise of Alibaba could have been a joyful story but unfortunately writer just forgot how to write. Never reading any books by Duncan Clark again.
Книга написана на интересную и актуальную тему, но автору не удалось её полностью раскрыть. Видимо, он близко не знаком с Джеком, поэтому пишет о внешних событиях, происходивших в компании на разных этапах развития, причём делает это довольно скучно. Возможно, в будущем Джек Ма сам напишет свою автобиографию и она будет такой же яркой и запоминающейся, как и все его выступления.
Interesting overview of the China macroeconomic state. Also demonstrates how little the outside world knows about the way China operates. Especially after the much celebrated Ma simply disappeared from the Public eye for more than a year. Imagine the same thing happening with (say, a) Zuckerberg or Musk in the US.