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Interview: Jack Ma urges Entrepreneurs, SMBs to take advantage of globalization

Xinhua, May 4, 2017 Adjust font size:

Founder and CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma on Wednesday urged entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium businesses (SMBs) to take advantage of globalization's benefits.

On a visit to Argentina, the business magnate delivered an inspiring speech to a packed audience at the Cultural Center of Science in capital Buenos Aires.

"The Internet does not steal jobs. Ignoring the Internet leads to the loss of jobs," Ma told Xinhua in an exclusive interview after the speech.

Established China's answer to Amazon in 1999, Ma made his fortune by embracing the internet technology. He is confident about what technology can do for the society, if applied correctly.

"Machines are powerful because they don't tire, they are never in a bad mood, and they are always willing to double their productivity," Ma noted.

"The world is changing and many jobs are going to become obsolete. But as has happened before, at first they will be eliminated and eventually new jobs will be created," said Ma.

"All new technology initially displaces human labor, but then it creates new, better quality jobs," Ma added.

In the same way as the far-sighted entrepreneur has harnessed the power of the Internet, the SMBs should try and make globalization work for them, Ma believed.

Shifting resources and energies from the large corporations towards the smaller will benefit states, said Ma.

"Entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies will have an advantage, because they are more agile," so governments should "pay attention to small enterprise. Small companies will be driving the country's growth," Ma stressed.

"There are people who hate the changes brought about by globalization," said Ma, but "I believe in it, because it is impossible to stop" and it "must have benefits for small enterprise."

"Today's trade agreements were designed with large companies in mind, but globalization -- which many fear and want to put a stop to -- is increasingly in the hands of the people and the 'netprenuers'," said Ma, referring to those who started their own Internet-based businesses.

Dressed in his signature white shirt and black slacks, Ma said the spread of the Internet will only intensify into the future.

"It will be everywhere ... the next 30 years will be the true era of the Internet," he said, adding "in the future, 90 percent of businesses will be online."

"E-commerce is where the shopping opportunities are and it is going to become the new way to do retail. In the next 10 years, all products will be made to measure for the client, and they are only going to be available online," said Ma.

All this, he said, makes it necessary to develop an electronic World Trade Platform (e-WTP) for SMBs.

Figures from China's Ministry of Commerce show cross-border e-commerce in the Asian giant has grown about 30 percent annually in the eight years leading to 2016, when total transactions reached 6.3 trillion yuan (914 billion U.S. dollars). Endi