Duncan Clark draws on a considerable trove of personal reminiscences in addition to dozens of interviews to write what could be the definitive history not just of Alibaba but other titans of the Chinese internet such as Tencent, Sohu, Sina and Baidu — all household names in China but little known in the west. — Read the complete FT review
In only a decade and half, Jack Ma, a man who rose from humble beginnings and started his career as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into the second largest internet company in the world. The company’s $25bn IPO in 2014 was the world’s largest, valuing the company more than Facebook or Coca Cola.
Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own first-hand experience of key figures integral to Alibaba’s rise to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of how Alibaba and its charismatic creator have transformed the way that Chinese exercise their new found economic freedom, inspiring entrepreneurs around the world and infuriating others, turning the tables on the Silicon Valley giants who have tried to stand in his way.
Duncan explores vital questions about the company’s past, present, and future: How, from such unremarkable origins, did Jack Ma build Alibaba? What explains his relentless drive and his ability to outsmart his competitors? With over 80 per cent of China’s e-commerce market, how long can the company hope to maintain its dominance? As the company sets its sights on the country’s financial and media markets, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions, or will the Chinese government act to curtail them? And as it set up shop from LA and San Francisco to Seattle, how will Alibaba grow its presence and investments in the US and other international markets?