Jack Ma: "We did not beat eBay in the USA … yet."

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The Guardian considers the long line of western failures to crack the Chinese market. Jack Ma, whose Alibaba.com bought Yahoo’s Chinese operation last year, blames corporate culture for the failure: “Professional managers are making their bosses in the US happy, not the Chinese users.”

Demanding instant success in China is pointless: “A lot of people assume that because of money, technology and branding, it will be a success. But the market can’t be bought. You have to build little by little to get into the market – it’s about people, and you need patience.”

123 million Chinese people are online, the largest number in any country outside America, but just 10% of the population: it’s obvious why western firms would want to cash in on such an enormous potential market. Ma’s words ought to be a timely reminder that global trade can run in both directions.



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