Connectivity to the internet could be more important in this era, compared with access to electricity in the past century, to build an inclusive digital economy and society, according to Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding.“Today, if we are not connecting any country [or] if you don’t let your people connect to the internet, it’s worse than last century not letting them connect to electricity,” Ma said on Monday during a livestreamed panel discussion on digital cooperation with American philanthropist Melinda Gates and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at UN headquarters in New York City.“The digital period from now is just the beginning.”The discussion was held to mark the release of “The Age of Digital Interdependence,” a report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.The report calls for reinvigorating multilateral cooperation among governments so that digital technologies can be used to help improve life for everyone.That, in turn, can be complemented by cooperation with a diverse spectrum of other stakeholders, such as civil society, technologists, academics and the private sector, according to the report.
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At a time when countries are feuding over tariffs and trade agreements, Melinda Gates and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma feel optimistic that international cooperation will bridge the digital divide.The hope is that global collaboration will help connect every adult to a "digital network" by 2030.Gates, who runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband, Ma and UN Secretary-General António Guterres discussed the findings from the report during a panel session on Monday.The report's release comes at a time when issues of data privacy and the hostilities between the US and China permeate the headlines.Despite talks of recent data leaks, the 5G race and artificial intelligence, the UN panel brought specific attention to the less-discussed fact that internet access still isn't available to half the world.They mentioned that internet connection is key to ensuring the underprivileged can participate in a global economy.
Bottom line: Enterprise, which includes everything from bringing rural convenience stores online to upgrading China’s factories, isn’t sexy and doesn’t get the attention it deserves.Even with significant restructuring announced late last year by the BAT as well as government policies prioritizing industrial upgrades, not enough China tech watchers and participants are aware of what could be the biggest shift in China’s tech industry.Too often we focus on the consumer space and the Luckins of the world, but it’s changes on the backend that are transforming how business, across all verticals and industries, is being done.2014: Alibaba launches Ling Shou Tong, an inventory management platform for convenience stores and parcel deliveryJan 2015: Alibaba launches a beta version of its enterprise messaging service DingTalkOct 2016: Jack Ma coins the term “New Retail” in a speech at the 7th Alibaba Computing Conference
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Chinese Crypto Pioneer Pays $4.57 Million for Lunch With Warren Buffett – BloombergWhat happened: Justin Sun, founder of cryptocurrency platform Tronix (more commonly known as TRON), has won a record $4.57 million bid in an eBay charity auction to have lunch with billionaire investor Warren Buffett.“I officially announce I’ve won the record-setting 20th-anniversary charity lunch hosted by @WarrenBuffett,” the 28-year-old Chinese entrepreneur announced in a post on Twitter.Sun said he hopes to educate and change Buffett’s mind on blockchain and cryptocurrency.Buffett previously compared Bitcoin to “rat poison” and said it “attracts charlatans.”Why it’s important: Although cryptocurrency is still largely banned in China, TRON, launched two years ago, has become one of the ten largest cryptocurrencies in the world.
It’s rumored (Chinese link) that at a dinner attended by Ant Financial and Hello TransTech (formerly Hellobike) bigwigs, Ant Financial CEO Jing Xiandong cracked open a bottle of Guizhou Maotai, an upmarket brand of Chinese rice wine, Jack Ma had previously gifted him, worth over a million RMB.The short answer is, by taking the wheel of Hello TransTech’s Series D and every subsequent funding round after that, Jack Ma-controlled Ant Financial secured a critical component of Alibaba’s mobility ecosystem designs.To understand Ant Financial’s investment in Hello and what that means for Alibaba, we need to wrap our heads around two things: (1) why on-demand mobility matters for Alibaba; and (2) what pieces Alibaba had in its mobility ecosystem before Ant Financial pounced on Hello.Alibaba’s restaurant review, venue booking, ticket purchase, and hotel reservation services are all linked to a common theme: going out and having a good time.This requires adjacent services to transport users from home to venue, between venues, and back home again.As such, on-demand mobility closes the loop between the existing services in Alibaba’s ecosystem.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is known for extravagant events and displays.Every year, the company holds an event called "Ali Day" to celebrate its employees and their families.The day features a lavish mass wedding celebration, presided over by founder Jack Ma.Some of the celebrations resemble a typical company day out, with playgrounds for employees' children and sports games for staff."Ali day" has been running for 15 years, and the company claims it came into being because of SARS.According to an Alibaba press release, the origins of Ali day sprung from the outbreak of SARS in 2002, an acute respiratory illness that killed 774 people in total.
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On Tuesday, Tencent’s usually low-profile founder and CEO Pony Ma made rare comments to weigh in on escalating tensions between the United States and China, calling domestic tech companies to build more self-reliance in a bid to stay competitive.There is less and less room for taking the best from outside and improving on them.As the ZTE and Huawei cases have intensified recently, we are also constantly watching whether the trade war will turn into a tech war,” said Ma at an event in China’s Yunnan Province per a transcript Tencent provided to TechCrunch.As recent US-China negotiations show, the Shenzhen-based telecommunication and smartphone giant has become deeply entangled in the trade spat.The Commerce Department last week restricted American companies from selling components and other technology to Huawei — which the Trump administration has labeled as posing a national security threat — though it has since scaled back the ban.That would eventually cut Huawei off from certain services from Google, chips made by Qualcomm and Intel, and its other American suppliers.
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Alibaba founder Jack Ma was greeted at the Viva Technology conference in Paris like a conquering hero.During an hour-long question-and-answer session on stage, however, he made some rather astonishing claims about the reasons China has succeeded in tech while berating Europeans for being obsessed with regulations.“Most government officials, they don’t know how to make rules and laws for the internet because nobody realizes what internet looks like.“Europe … very interesting,” he continued.Everything you do, let’s follow the rules and laws.I worry about the worries of Europe.”
As an outgoing foreigner, Chinese friends inevitably tell me I should become a wanghong, an internet celebrity along the lines of a Karshasian, a Kloss or a Pewdiepie.Over the past three years, he has gone from a beauty sales assistant with a monthly salary of RMB 6,000/month (about $880) to someone so famous he can outsell Jack Ma on a lipstick livestream battle.He also has a big presence on Douyin, where he’s received over one hundred million likes and amassed 22 million followers.I’d start working at 6 p.m., have time to play Mahjong, go to bars, sing KTV, have a midnight snack,” Li said.“I haven’t had any time to sleep, much less go out and have fun.”So how busy is he?
At Friday’s Ali Day, Alibaba’s annual event to celebrate employees, Jack Ma said that employees’ sexual activity should happen six times every six days, and that it should last a long time.The remarks make reference to the 996 working regime, for which Jack Ma’s harsh attitude has received significant criticism in the past.Ma got in trouble in April after condemning an online movement against the 996 working schedule in the tech industry, which forces employees to work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.Tech workers took to GitHub to speak out against the long hours, saying that eventually they will lead them to the ICU.Ma responded that having the opportunity to work 996 is a “blessing.”At Ali Day, the richest man in China followed up on his 996 proclamations with a wordplay.
Zhang: Empower Young Innovators to shape the future – AlizilaWhat happened: Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang shared his views on innovation and Alibaba’s evolution at a conference in Beijing on April 27.In his reflections on Alibaba’s 20-year history, Zhang said that innovation comes from looking for opportunities for society in the future.“A real entrepreneur, they may identify some opportunities not only for today but also for tomorrow,” he said.Zhang also stated that start-ups should focus on value creation, not valuation, to retain customers.Why it’s important: As the engineer for some of the company’s best-known achievements and a key proponent of Alibaba’s “New Retail” model, the 47-year-old CEO is shifting into a more visible role following the news in September that Zhang will replace company founder Jack Ma as chairman of the board in a year.
Daxue Consulting is a market research and management consulting firm focusing on the Chinese market.The retail world is evolving at a dizzying pace, and this transformation goes far beyond online shopping.The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced a “new retail” strategy—but what does new retail mean?For Ali founder Jack Ma, the future of retail is not about new retail channels, but about new experiences.However, for years, physical network and digital sales networks were managed separately by companies, each with its own databases, customer relationships, loyalty program and KPIs.The retail giant understands that the real challenge is to succeed in following customers through the multiplicity of contact points and devices.
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On Monday, a GitHub user called on those who condemn 996 to respond to Jack Ma’s endorsement of the widely criticized work schedule by sending an official copy of China’s labor law on May 4 to the Alibaba headquarters.Chinese labor law states that staff shouldn’t work more than 36 hours of overtime a month.Ma, founder of Alibaba and the richest man in China, dismissed outcry on social media over the grueling working hours in China’s tech industry in a blog post on April 12.“To be able to work 996 is a huge blessing,” he said.The GitHub post estimates 1,000 participants will participate.As of Thursday afternoon, the post has received 710 stars on GitHub, which work as bookmarks on the code-sharing platform.
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For tech workers in China, a brutal work schedule of 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week (usually just called "996") is not only commonplace, it’s been hailed as “a huge blessing” by the likes of Alibaba’s eccentric and fantastically wealthy taskmaster, Jack Ma.Workers themselves, as you might imagine, do not all share his enthusiasm.Mirroring the push for more fairness and accountability at tech firms in the US, Chinese workers took to Github, the popular code repository website now owned by Microsoft, to start a blacklist of sorts.The repo itself was given the name 996.icu—as named because of this demanding schedule’s likeliness to send exhausted coders to the hospital’s intensive care unit.All this attention has also led to a crackdown of sorts, with several popular internet browsers restricting access to the 996.icu page in particular.Microsoft and Github workers released an open letter on Monday, making plain their intention to “stand in solidarity with tech workers in China” and resist potential attempts by the Chinese government to pressure Microsoft into censoring 996.icu.
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Github repositories are usually used by developers to share, contribute and test code, but the 996.ICU repo and official site are protests against “996” culture—the expectation that employees will work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week.Tech leaders, including Alibaba’s Jack Ma, JD.com’s Richard Liu and Sogou founder Wang Xiaochuan, have all come out in support of the grueling work schedule.As younger generations enter the labor force, they are no longer willing to trade their personal lives and health for a paycheck.Industry leaders, government officials and managers need to realign expectations and inefficient management systems to adapt to evolving employee demands for better work-life balance.As wages rise, Chinese productivity is lagging behind global averages.The term 996 becomes associated with China’s startup and tech culture, linking “hard work” with China’s broader success.
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Does Alibaba boss Jack Ma deserve the criticism for backing the ‘996’ working week?Becci Gould, associate director at Kin, says YES.According to the Mental Health Foundation, 14.7 per cent of people in the UK experience mental health issues at work.Research shows that working a straight-through five-day week – let alone a six-day one – just isn’t good for the human brain.From a productivity and financial perspective, shorter working weeks are good for business too.That’s why we recently launched a campaign calling on organisations to trial Wednesday Off-ternoon – an evidence-based alternative to the five-day week – which has had a positive impact on both productivity and employee wellbeing.
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Tianhong, controlled by Jack Ma’s Ant Financial, seeks diversification outside China – ReutersWhat happened: Ant Financial-controlled Tianhong Asset Management is ramping up expansion efforts for its cross-border business as regulatory curbs at home hampers the growth of its money market fund Yu’e Bao.“Compared with other industry players, our international business started late.But we’re catching up,” said Liu Dong, head of Tianhong’s international business.The asset management firm launched its first mutual fund targeting Hong Kong stocks earlier this month and is scheduled to roll out another mutual fund product that allows entities in China to invest in overseas markets this year.Why it’s important: Tianhong’s international business currently amounts to RMB 3 billion ($447.26 million), which is a small compared to its Yu’e Bao fund that has RMB 1.13 trillion ($168.47 billion) in assets under management as of end-2018.
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While Ma and other tech CEOs like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos advocate for working longer hours, research finds that excessive overtime endangers employees and does not make them more productive.Chinese billionaire Jack Ma recently said people who work 72-hour workweeks are "blessed"— but productivity experts and employees themselves beg to differ.Ma recently prompted backlash after saying that "996" workweeks — or working 9 am to 9 pm for 6 days a week — are a "huge blessing" for young employees, according to Reuters.While Ma advocated for the "996" workweek, he added in a separate blog post that forcing anyone to work overtime was "inhumane."Chinese labor laws prohibit companies from forcing employees to work more than 40-hours a week without overtime, but many companies ask employees to sign contracts that agree to flexible work schedules, according to The Wall Street Journal.While Ma may say young employees are "blessed" to work long hours, many workers themselves feel differently.
Alibaba cofounder and chairman, Jack Ma, came out in support of China's gruelling working hours in a speech to employees on Thursday.He referred to China's infamous "996" schedule - a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workday, six days a week - as being a "blessing" for young workers.Ma's comments were supported by Richard Liu, the billionaire founder and CEO of Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com.Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma endorsed China's gruelling work hours in a speech to employees on Thursday.In the speech last week, Ma referred to China's overtime culture, known as "996" - a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workday, six days a week — as a "huge blessing" for young workers."If you don't work 996 when you are young, when can you ever work 996?"
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China’s top government media outlets are adding their voices to the debate around the 12-hour work practice in the tech industry, harshly reminding entrepreneurs to “obey the rules” and “avoid chaos.”According to a commentary released Tuesday via state-owned Xinhua News Agency, China Labor Law dictates that work schedules should not exceed eight hours per day and 44 hours on average per week.Given specific reasons, workers can put in a maximum of three hours per day and 36 hours per month of overtime.“Obviously, the 996 work schedule is illegal,” said Xinhua (our translation).Well-known shorthand referring to 12 hours a day, six days a week at top Chinese tech companies, 996 has triggered extensive public debate over the weekend following Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s pronouncement that overtime work culture was a “huge blessing.” In remarks posted on Alibaba’s WeChat account, the billionaire entrepreneur defended the 12-hour workweek, asking, “how can you achieve huge success if you don’t spare more time and effort than others?” (our translation).Ma endorsed the concept again on Sunday in a WeChat post, saying individuals stick to the 996 or 997 schedule because “they found passion beyond economic benefit.” He added that he had no intention to defend the “inhumane” and “unhealthy” practice, while referring to the country’s success of developing missile bombs and satellites in the 1960s as examples to persuade people to “fight for their future.”
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