BOOK REVIEW: Focus on tycoon extraordinaire

Never Give Up: Jack Ma In His Own Words, published by Agate Publishing in July 2016, imprint Agate B2, part of the publisher’s In Their Own Words series, edited by Suk Lee and Bob Song, 150 pages, available at Asia Books for 450 baht.

RAGS to riches tales never fail to amaze and today it is especially fascinating if it’s about e-commerce which is rapidly multiplying worldwide as increasing number of people get hooked to their mobile phones and tablets aside from the enduring workhorse, laptop and desktop computers.

In this newly published book which runs over 200 quotes of e-commerce titan Alibaba founder Jack Ma, some of which were translated directly from Chinese press and interviews, one gets to understand this brilliant business magnate and philanthropist better.

Jack MaHis astounding ability is underscored by the magnitude of his business empire, with the most famous of course being, which is the world’s largest online business-to-business trading platform for small businesses; then comes Taobao taking the prime position as China’s largest consumer-to-consumer shopping platform; Alipay soaring ahead as a third-party online payment platform with no transaction fees; and a move last April to acquire Lazada, the Singaporean e-commerce company.

The title puts the spotlight on Jack Ma’s own attitude when faced with rejection throughout his life.

“He flunked his university exams twice, finally accepting a spot in what he called ‘my city’s worst university’ … when Kentucky Fried Chicken came to China, 24 people applied for jobs, and 23 were accepted – he was the only person denied a position.”

Those already running a business or are planning to do so could learn a lot from his views, which are sharp but sometimes very Asian.

As the key preoccupation of a business is making money, which is particularly hard when you just start up, Mr Ma’s advice is spot on.

“Never think about financing when creating a business.  You will never create a good company that way. Don’t chase the investors (they’ll only run away faster) but know that, as a successful small-to medium-sized company, investors will come to you.”

That he is as Asian as can be is amply shown by his quote on counterfeiters which would raise heckles in the West:

“It’s not white and black. If you just say, ‘Take that down,’ it is unfair to that guy (the seller). We have to also protect these guys, not only the branded businesses. You have to care about all the people, their rights.”

There are lots of other quotes which are truly thought provoking and helpful in operating an online or any other type of company. As this is a slim book, it is also very easy to read which those who are too busy to pick up a thick volume would certainly appreciate.


TOP: The distinctive logo which has spread worldwide. Photo: hinglish Notes

INSET: The paperback cover of the book Never Give Up: Jack Ma In His Own Words.

By Nina Suebsukcharoen


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