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[FORBES] 3 Lessons from Alibaba for Chinese Companies Going Global

Joel on July 10, 2015 - 9:13 am in Insights

Jack Ma NYC

Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, recently returned to the city where his firm made history last year with its record-breaking $25 billion IPO. First in New York and then in Chicago, Ma emphasized the importance of ‘cross-border e-commerce’. This relatively new form of e-commerce enables Chinese consumers to purchase products directly from the US and other international markets via Alibaba’s TMall Global online platform. This booming industry is expected to grow from $40 billion in 2014 to as large as $240 billion by 2020. There’s a huge market up for grabs, and competition is intensifying – NASDAQ-listed JD.com recently launched its similar JD Worldwide, while other ‘pure cross-border’ companies like Shanghai-based Ymatou.com are quickly gaining ground.

Ma’s high-profile US visit had two goals. First, it enabled him to promote cross-border e-commerce and explain how American businesses can capitalize on the emerging phenomenon to sell their products to Chinese consumers. Second, it provided him a platform to address mounting concerns about counterfeit products being sold on Alibaba’s sites. Ma’s fluent English and ability to navigate complex and sensitive topics are key assets that have enabled him to connect with Western audiences. However, there are three more important lessons that Chinese CEOs who wish to ‘go global’ can learn from Jack Ma and Alibaba.

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Last week I wrote a new piece in Forbes about how other Chinese firms can learn from the experience of Jack Ma and Alibaba. Particularly there are three important lessons that Chinese companies seeking to expand internationally need to get right:

  1. Be Visible
  2. Address Concerns Early & Directly
  3. Hire & Empower Local Employees

You can find the complete article on Forbes.com here.

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