Alibaba

Jack Ma on Why Alibaba Isn't the Chinese Amazon

The founder of the global ecommerce giant explains his business philosophy at the World Economic Forum.
Jack Ma on Why Alibaba Isn't the Chinese Amazon
Image credit: Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Though they are both global ecommerce companies that were founded in the 1990s and have names that begin with the letter A, Jack Ma wants you to know that's all Alibaba and Amazon have in common.

In a conversation at the World Economic Forum, the Alibaba founder and executive chairman explained where he and Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos differ in their approaches to running their companies.

He told interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin that there is no one right business model -- that if that was the case, the world would be a boring place. But Ma said that no matter what model you follow, you should believe in the work you are doing.

Related: By the Numbers: Amazon vs. Alibaba (Infographic)

When asked about Amazon’s apparent goal to own its entire supply chain, from servers to warehouses to delivery vehicles, Ma said that wasn’t the path he saw for Alibaba. He said he viewed Amazon as an empire, and Alibaba like an ecosystem.

“We want to empower others to sell, to service, to make sure that other people are more powerful than us,” he said. “Making sure that with our technology and innovation, our partners and 10 billion small-business sellers, they can compete with Microsoft and IBM. ... We think, using our technology, we can make every company become Amazon.”

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