September 10, 2019, is China's teacher's Day, but also Ma Yun's 55th birthday. On this day, Ma Yun handed over the scepter of China's largest ecommerce platform.
Far from Alibaba's power center, Ma Yun will not go to Taijiquan every day idle cloud wild crane days, in his words, he is still young, not enough. Love tossing is Ma Yun's style of doing things. It is no exaggeration to say that Alibaba can grow from a tiny dust 20 years ago to a commercial monster with a market capitalization of more than $460 billion, which is not only dependent on the rise of China's economy, but also related to the continuous twists and turns of his team.
The 7300 days left behind by Ma Yun are full of troubles, miracles, disputes and challenges.
First, Hangzhou youth collect debts from the United States
In the autumn of 1995, a small Chinese youth appeared in the wet streets of Seattle, USA.
He did not come to study or travel, nor to examine cooperative projects, but to collect debts for the Department of Communications of Zhejiang Province (according to Wu Xiaobo). His name is Ma Yun, and he will start an e-commerce company called Alibaba four years later, but in 1995, Ma Yun may not be able to tell the difference between the Internet and spider webs and fishing nets. Commissioned by Zhejiang Provincial Transportation Department to recover debts in the United States, but Ma Yun in order to complete a list, in order to get a commission.
Ma Yun at that time had left the impression that he was not afraid of trouble: the college entrance examination was admitted to the Department of Foreign languages of Hangzhou normal University three times, and after graduation, he entered Hangzhou University of Electronic Science and Technology as an English teacher, and soon disdain to grow old at the three-foot podium, so he set up Hangzhou's first foreign language translation agency to specialize in foreign trade lists. The translation agency didn't make any money, but Jack Ma turned himself around
Jack Ma, a major in English education in Hangzhou normal University (first left in the back row) Hangzhou normal University
The list was not made, but God closed a window to Ma Yun and opened a door to the Internet world to him at the same time.
At a friend's house, Ma Yun saw the Internet for the first time and experienced its charm for the first time. With the help of his friends, Jack Ma tried to make a web page and upload it to the Internet. Three hours later, he received five E mail letters from the United States, Germany and Japan. Foreigners were surprised that a Chinese could also surf the Internet and asked to talk to him curiously.
Ma Yun, who knows nothing about Internet technology, is suddenly enlightened.
After returning to China, Ma Yun enthusiastically invited a group of good friends to his home and solemnly told them that he was going to start an Internet-related enterprise. But the Internet came into China a year later, and it will take another four years to connect with ordinary people. At that time, many Chinese people had never seen anything about computers, let alone the invisible and intangible Internet. So Ma Yun talked for half a day, and no one could understand it.
Ma Yun is preaching for e-commerce
However, Ma Yun was determined to resign from office as an English teacher and put together 20,000 yuan to set up the office.
As a result, everyone disagrees with Ma Yun's story and thinks he is a liar.
What happened next is well known: China's yellow page project failed, Ma Yun led the team northward to make a living for the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, the business was not smooth, and the team ran to the Great Wall to take a picture, and then went south again, setting up Alibaba at his own home in the lakeside garden district on the outskirts of Hangzhou in 1999. This time, Ma Yun turned around successfully.
2. Why did Ali become a pioneer, and why did 8848 become a pioneer?
In China in 1999, Alibaba was not the only e-commerce company. At that time, there was a company called 8848. Different from Alibaba's B2B business model, 8848 is B2C, that is, the network department store, and today's Dangdang Network, JD.com 's main business model is the same.
Both Wang Juntao and Ma Yuntao, the founders of 8848, like grand narrative perspectives. Ma Yun wants Alibaba to rank among the top 10 websites in the world, while Wang Juntao dreams of reaching the height of Mount Everest in the e-commerce world.
The two men are ambitious.
The outcome of the two companies is a profound difference, 8848 has long become the dust of history, but Alibaba has become a business legend. It is the way the two founders realize their ambitions that determine the different destinies of the two companies.
According to the data of China Internet Information Center, in 1999, the total number of netizens in China was no more than 4 million. There were only 1.46 million networked computers, all of which were dial-up users. For the vast majority of netizens, the role of the Internet is mainly to send and receive e-mail, browse information, as for online shopping, no one thought about it.
In short, China's e-commerce market in 1999 is a poor soil. In this case,4 million Internet users can't support the B2C business model of 8848. And,8848 has a fatal weakness, and it's going to be as hard as it is to develop an offline department store, such as a fire. Wang Juntao does not know that B2C 's business model can be spread only after a large number of Internet users accept the market education, that is, at least four years later.
Ma Yuntao did not copy Amazon's B2C business model as Wang Juntao did. After all, there were 100 million Internet users in the United States in 1999, while only 4 million in China. At this time, the lessons of previous failures helped Ma Yun. In the process of making official websites for MOFTEC, Ma Yun learned that due to the financial crisis sweeping Southeast Asia in 1998, a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises exporting in China had high inventories, and were eager to find orders, suffering a lot.
In this case, to give small bosses a spark, they will compete against each other, basically do not need market education.
Instead of seeking gold among 4 million netizens, Ma Yun turned to small and medium-sized business owners to connect them with global orders through Alibaba. At the same time, Alibaba is very grounded in setting the threshold very low, whether small and medium-sized enterprises or small vendors, can sell goods to the world through it.
This B2B business model is obviously easier to gain a foothold and survive than the Amazon business model pursued by 8848. It is said that Cai Chongxin gave up his job of hundreds of thousands of years'salary and joined Alibaba only after listening to Ma Yun's analysis on a boat in the West Lake of Hangzhou, with a monthly salary of only 500 yuan.
In the same way, Ma spent six minutes in Beijing persuading SoftBank Sunjustice to invest $30 million in Alibaba (later asked for $30 million to $20 million because of corporate control).
Cai Chongxin's joining and Sun Zhengyi's investment are regarded as two key nodes in Alibaba's development history, and also two peaks of Ma Yun's legendary life. Later, they were cooked into chicken soup by followers and distributed around the Internet.
Chicken soup cookers overlook the basic fact that professional managers and venture capital institutions are rational people in economics and investment animals that are accurate in calculating profits. This species is characterized by rationality to cold-blooded, and is basically not impressed by the so-called personal charm. What impresses them must be the commercial value of the entrepreneurship project itself. The founder's personal charm and quality are just the guarantee to realize the commercial value.
Cai Chongxin and Sun Zhengyi bet on Ma Yun, mainly agreeing with his view that China is first a big manufacturing country, then a big consumer country, so Alibaba's B2B model for small and medium-sized enterprises to find trading partners is more successful than the company's B2C which sells goods directly to individuals.
The later results confirmed that copying Amazon's B2C model in the United States did not work. Wang Juntao's 8848, although he got 60 million US dollars in venture capital in 1999, far exceeded Ma Yun's Alibaba, but it did not go smoothly. 8848 was under pressure to package himself as a result of the listing.
That is to say, since then, the competition law of domestic e-commerce market has been determined invisibly: who plays more closely, who can become the ultimate winner.
ThreeHangzhou Normal University Graduates vs. Harvard University Graduates
In his 20 years at the helm of Alibaba, Ma Yun has gone through dozens of business battles, the most critical of which is the war with eBay.
EBay was originally founded by Harvard Business School students Shao Yibo and Tan Haiyin. The idea of starting a business was that Shao Yibo sold his $500 TV set through eBay for $550 while studying in Harvard. It touched him a lot. After returning home, he duplicated eBay's C2C (Personal to Personal) business model, founded eBay, and occupied more than 90% of the market in China in 2002, with brilliant performance.
Because of the same business model and eBay's eagerness to expand the Chinese market, in 2002, eBay acquired 33% of eBay's shares and officially entered the Chinese market.
Ms. Whitman, president of eBay, who also graduated from Harvard Business School, is looking forward to the future of China's e-commerce market, believing that China will become the world's largest market in the next 10 to 15 years. EBay immediately alerted Jack Ma when it entered China.
At that time, Alibaba's B2B business model developed well. Every order was completed, the office building would sound a big drum. But when news of eBay's acquisition of eBay into the Chinese market came in 2002, the drums of orders were dull in Ma Yun's ears. Ma Yun felt threatened, believing that eBay, the Big Mac, would eventually invade his territory.
Meg, then president of eBay. Ms. Whitman.
Ma Yun believed that attack is the best defense, so he set up Taobao and eBay in April 2003 to go to war head-on. The war was called by Ma Yun
But the slightly funny thing is, in
EBay is acting at his own pace: Whitman promises to eBay
The marketing battle did not hurt eBay's bones and muscles, and Ma Yun's attack on its business model caused fatal damage.
EBay copied eBay's business model, and sellers need to pay 1 to the platform for each item they go online.
Therefore, in view of eBay's charging model, Taobao launched a free policy, supplemented by market promotion, which quickly attracted a large number of small and medium-sized sellers. For Taobao's fierce attack, Whitman did not change eBay's business model, because Harvard Business School taught her the business principle is that there is no free lunch in the world, users pay to enjoy quality services. And eBay's success in the United States has strengthened her confidence.
In addition, Whitman also does not like Taobao's free model. She believes that enterprises are profit-making organizations and that free will make Taobao's financial holes worse and worse. Therefore, she confidently openly shouts that Taobao, which has no profit source, will not survive for more than 18 months.
Ma Yun's view is totally different. He thinks eBay is looking at China in two or three years, even in that year. So eBay is very concerned about the market and profit in that season. But eBay obviously pays too much attention to short-term profit. In fact, China's e-commerce market is still in its infancy. It is difficult to become the mainstream in two or three years, so eBay must focus on 1. Ten years later, therefore, the growth of the number of users is far more important than short-term profitability.
From the final result, Ma Yun won and Whitman lost. Taobao not only survived, but also beat eBay to become the dominant C2C market in China. Subsequently, Ma Yun separated Taobao Mall from Taobao. com and developed independently, renamed Tianmao Mall, specializing in B2C market. Alibaba group also has three business forms: B2B (Alibaba), B2C (Tmall mall) and C2C (Taobao), covering the e-commerce market in an all-round way, supplemented by Alipay's financial tool, thus building the commercial empire.
It can be said that the confrontation between Hangzhou Normal University graduate Ma Yun and Harvard Business School graduates has spread to the whole world. Since eBay lost to China, it has been overtaken by Amazon in the global market, selling assets, and its market value has shrunk from about $73.72 billion at its peak to $33.861 billion at present, which is only 13.58% of Alibaba's.
The defeated elephant becomes an ant, and the defeated ant expands into a monster.
Fourth, Two Controversies
In 1996, Ma Yun promoted in Beijing.
Twenty-three years later, Ma Yun has become a legendary business guru. With Alibaba expanding its borders, his influence has risen exponentially, making news of everything he says and does. There are countless books about Ma Yun among the people. Legendary business leaders, entrepreneurship godfathers, inspirational life mentors and other dazzling titles, as well as his true and false legends, are circulated in the workshop.
But in the past 20 years in charge of Alibaba, Ma Yun has been surrounded by controversy in addition to flowers and applause.
The dispute comes from the implementation of Taobao.
At that time, the battle between Taobao and eBay was decided. Ma Yun needed to find a way to make money for Taobao. Although he despised short-term profits, Taobao could not always be free. He needed to find a profit model to survive.
But Taobao sellers are reluctant to believe that Ma Yun violated Taobao's promise to be free for three years, and since May 2006, things have been simmering, and sellers have protested with actual actions. For 20 days, Ma Yun was on pins and needles, and by the early morning of May 31, he decided to use
In 2006, some sellers were dissatisfied with Ma Yun's fee policy and protested at Taobao headquarters.
Ma Yun in the post of persuasion and painstaking efforts, but angry Taobao sellers, he is just doing a show, is washing the land for bully, breach of trust and other commercial stains. June 1, 2006, just after zero o'clock, more than 30,000 Taobao sellers have taken deposits from Alipay, off the shelves.
At the same time, Taobao competitors tit - for - tat launch.
Finally, Ma Yun was forced to go offline in a way that Taobao sellers had to vote to decide.
After Taobao Mall was separated and independent, because the entrepreneurs in Taobao Mall were all enterprises with certain strength, including many international brands, Ma Yun went more radical on the way of realizing the flow: every entrepreneur in Taobao Mall had to pay for the platform, including technical service fees, sales deductions, margins and so on, while there were also soft ones. Operating costs include through train (search bidding mode), drilling exhibition (advertisement space sold by flow bidding), pit fee paid by participating in aggregate planning, real-time deducted technical service fee (cumulative amount of goods received by consumers * category fee rate, and eBay service fee is similar and different).
With Ma Yun's team constantly innovating flow cash tools, Alibaba Group has finally become a super money printer with the rapid development of China's economy, as Alibaba opens up the three major e-commerce forms of B2B, B2C and C2C and completes the hegemony of e-commerce. In fiscal year 2013 before listing, Alibaba's net profit was 3.561 billion US dollars. In fiscal year 2018, its net profit exceeded 9 billion US dollars, and its five-year net profit increased by about 253 times.
However, when Alibaba made a lot of special profits, it was a difficult reality for small and medium-sized sellers everywhere. Some Tmall sellers have calculated an account, because of the high operating costs, the final transaction price of goods must be 3 times the purchase price, in order to ensure that they can make money. In recent years, many small and medium-sized sellers complain that the business of Taobao and Tmall is becoming more and more difficult, which is related to Alibaba's corporate mission.
In addition, the textbook competition strategy used by Ma Yun and eBay in the war (ignoring short-term profits, first harvesting the flow to defeat the opponent's monopoly market, and then exploring the flow liquidity model) was almost regarded as the criterion by subsequent start-ups, resulting in frequent capital-driven money-burning wars, the most sensational of which was just past. Online live broadcasting and sharing of economic entrepreneurship, in which the shared economy burned hundreds of billions of dollars, burned out the shared bicycle spire brand ofo, but due to delays in finding a profit model, the final capital chain broke, after the collapse of a chicken feather.
V. Challenges Alibaba is facing
Although Ma Yun officially retired, the challenges left to Alibaba's management team were no less than in the war with eBay. Also in 2003, Liu Qiangdong began to test water ecommerce, after 2006 financing success, into the explosive growth track, its B2C business form and Tmall formed a positive competitive situation. Over the past 10 years, JD.com elbowed Taobao and Tmall's development, forcing Alibaba to work with the Alibaba Alliance to confront .
Liu Qiangdong, founder of Jingdong
To Ma Yun's surprise, in 2016, Qianduo rose strongly. In the three years since its establishment, the growth rate has outpaced the accumulation of traditional ecommerce in the past 10 years, proving the success of its business model. At present, Alibaba has not found an effective strategy to restrain many efforts. By the end of September 5, US stocks closed, pinduoduo broke through the $40 billion mark, becoming Ali dare not underestimate the opponent.
Huang E, founder of Pingduo
At present, Alibaba is still the highest Internet company by market capitalization in China, but the gross profit margin has fallen from about 80 percent to 50 percent, down 37.5 percent, and the net interest rate has fallen from more than 50 percent to about 25 percent, down as much as 50 percent. The decline in the two key operating indicators may explain why Alibaba is both world-class ecommerce, and although Alibaba's profits are higher than Amazon's, Amazon has a market capitalisation of nearly $1 trillion, twice as much as Alibaba.
What the capital market is doubtful about is the challenge Alibaba is facing at present.
Since September 10, although Ma Yun retired, Alibaba's team still has a heavy responsibility. Alibaba's journey is far from over.
Note: except for special notes, the pictures in this article come from the Internet, and the copyright belongs to the author of the picture.