Jack Ma backs global strategy in final letter to shareholders

In his final letter to shareholders, Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma made a case for globalisation despite recent uncertainties in US-China trade relations, consumer trends, stock markets and the manufacturing industry.

This is the third time that Alibaba has faced a setback in the global economy over the 19 years, but experience suggests there are opportunities behind the anxiety and friction.

“The only question is how we should pivot,” he said.

“Monumental challenges give rise to monumental opportunities, and Alibaba is well-positioned because we are adept at weathering adversity.”

Ma added that Alibaba’s mission to make it easy to do business anywhere is precisely suited to the current environment, in which doing business is becoming harder.

“We have spent the past three years to develop a trading system that serves small and medium enterprises and consumers around the world,” he said, referencing the company’s goals of ‘global buy’, ‘global sell’, ‘global delivery’ and ‘global travel’.

“I am excited that we are able to deploy Alibaba’s technology, experience and resources, thereby establishing and improving a new and inclusive global trade system for the future.”

Alibaba claims to have helped 200,000 brick-and-mortar retailers to implement online and offline integration in line with its New Retail vision.

Ma reaffirmed the company’s commitment to sustainable growth for at least 102 years, with the goal of serving two billion global consumers, empowering 10 million profitable businesses and creating 100 million jobs by 2036, even as he prepares to step down from the board in September 2019, when CEO Daniel Zhang will take over his role as executive chairman.

But Ma said he will “always be happy to engage in any discussion about the company at any time in the future” and will remain a shareholder in the company and partner in the Alibaba partnership.

He thanked Alibaba’s shareholders for their trust and support and promised that the company would not stop innovating to solve problems and create value, market opportunity and profitability.

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