tv Duncan Clark on Alibaba CSPAN April 30, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
based in china advising foreign companies on chinese tech and kind of, you know, alibaba status and explosively successful company. i think in a lot of ways mirrors the chinese economy choose why someone with the kind of insider knowledge and 20 years of experience, he can explain it in a way that very few can and we are privileged to have him here today. if you can join us in welcoming mr. duncan, enjoy the talk. [applause] >> i thought you were reading that information. [inaudible] >> it was great. i just did a lookaround on wichat. it's appropriate because it's
not an alibaba product. so we just don't have to talk about alibaba, internet culture, internet society that is china today but obviously there's this book called alibaba that my publisher forced me to talk , no i want to talk about it and whenever you look at entrepreneurship, entrepreneur's failure is more interesting than success. and jack had a lot of failure, you don't really get into the book, the book starts with a chapter on alibaba the company. then we really go back in time to birth in 1964 and go through, you know, a lot of challenges and i think hopefully one of the stories, one of the things that will resinate most about the story, i think it is resinating
is, it's not just a china story, it's a story of overcoming adversity and being underestimated and cultivating being underestimating. [laughter] >> so maybe just start with three things. the first thing is what is alibaba. it's kind of not an amazon, kind of is in some ways, what we mean by this is it has elements of things that we associate with some of the iconic companies in the u.s., but obviously the chinese market is not the u.s. market so we wouldn't so we wouldn't expect the u.s. market equivalent. jack didn't start to create the amazon of china and it wasn't amazon of china, actually there was a company that tried to become amazon of china, it was convenient to have a lucky 8848 but unlucky name for company.
he was right because the chinese market was mature enough for three important reasons including people didn't have enough money, they also couldn't pay easily for the goods and you couldn't ship them reliable, if you fast-forward today, one of the reasons that he's successful is he solves the problems and he created what i called some architecture of trust. those of you who lived in china, the rarest commodity other than fresh air is trust and i don't mean that in a negative sense for people of china, it's just a society has developed in a different way, trust was the preserve of the family within the family and then theoretically it was going to be the state, the party, but obviously those things have broken down. and to ultimately create a
successful trading environment, jack understood that he had the close the loop and he did in innovation, there's really no innovation in china, that's not true. it's partly like paypal. it's actually a lot better. we took from another company. i think it's better than a lot of equivalence than the u.s. i talk about innovation of stanford, people think of the light-bulb moment. that's what jack is done. he's not a typically tech entrepreneur. he's an entrepreneur entrepreneur. so in the book we talk about what jack calls the ion triangle, how he solved the problems only to note three things that he become dominant
in consumer e-commerce and famously took on ebay and defeated them. now, i guess this book has left to center origin, i almost became an evil capitalist because i met jack in the summer of 1999 and worked with similar several years. i was given the right to buy shares and i didn't in 2003. so that's the 30 million-dollar mistake, that gives me street cred here. i'm clearly left wing, so the fact is, you know, i underestimated jack and i am not going to do that again, it's because this problem is so difficult like nobody thought anybody could and also ebay when they started coming in, people, said, jack, nobody is going to
able to refuse the huge company coming in. i'm going to play up for the left-wing here. ebay was basically, if you remember, some were born back then, we had the boom and the bust, ebay survived well and then we went to china but jack outsmarted them. he took on and defeated the big bad american or international company that everybody thought would crush the upstart. people talked about quotes and ebay is coming from across the pacific ocean, i'm waiting. jack is a quote machine. so i have here rather than
confetti, they're great, but he would like a comedian, there are a bit, you know, comedians have bits where they basically, the standup is not really standup. little mini hate things in their head and similarly we could just pick up one at random. this is quite good. when everyone thinks there's a great danger there's opportunities hidden there that can be brought up. they can try to make fortune cookies because jack's quotes are made and maybe there's a joint venture to actually make mass fortune cookies. he always had and the second one is really about jack, i think, this book. it was interesting as i start today dig in the history, aye known him again, i've known him since '99, i didn't really know
him before that. i heard his stories but i really wanted to go back and as i actually found as a researcher i invested in factiva, dow jones search service. you think google has everything, but it doesn't really. i found this news article from shortly after jack had started the company talking about australian family that jack had met when he was 15 year's old. anyway, i tracked down this boy who was 12 year's old when he met jack. he is name is david moorly and he's been helpful and some of the pictures in the book are never been seen before. that was interesting. you talked about the ipo. this is when i decide today write the book. every story is recycling the same pictures, the same kind of narrative that was tired and also didn't often make sense.
so i dug into the story, i actually started calling david moorly in australia, randomly calling and e-mailing and then losing but i e-mailed a i don't goa studio and e-mailed me back, good day, that's me, imposing austere owe -- a stereotype. david has been great. flicking matches. and jack took interest in this. jack has kind of made his own luck because has a person, as i mentioned, he's really not a tech guy.
we go back and see, you know, he failed exams terribly, he got one out of 120. i don't know how you even get that. [laughter] >> purely the liberal arts and creativity, we all know the very language involved, you know, and so this is a huge obstacle for him, but he had already become quite interesting person because english was good because he would go up to these people, wake up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning to ride his bicycle, this is kind of stuff that we knew but we wanted to get the details. true to the traditions so i'm overplaying the left-wing element, which is good. the australian guy was a union
organizer, david moorly's mother was member of communist party so ken had taken family to china when jack was 15 because he we wanted to show the children, three children, they also went to cuba. 1980 and as a result of this meeting, jack became a pen pal with david and i have one probably embarrassing for jack, but i think it's cute. it's a big deal in china in the early 08's. and then they ultimately help jack and fiance and bought them an apartment and it became genesis and had some savings that could allow to take some risks and be entrepreneur. there's a lot in the story. personal element and corporate
element and then there's the broader picture, what is -- does what the rise of alibaba tell us. i don't know if you knew -- he had to go to san francisco at the last minute. i think it already opened. opening of permanent office here. they're opened in new york. they're already in the west coast. one of the things i did in the book, i don't know about you, i've lived in china for 22 years i find geography and there's cities that i've never heard of. this is where alibaba is from, where jack is from. i have a map and showing people where it is and i have a map of the u.s. coast because we need to know the names of the chinese of u.s. cities because, you
know. [speaking in native tongue] >> we see up the west coast and it's important because jack discovered the internet in seattle and i'll be there on tuesday of next week and the whole story how it got there, but we had west coast tech and trade relationship underpinned but now alibaba is going to be here on the east coast and they're also in europe, milan, munich, because they're increasingly reaching out, so the third point alibaba is having an impact on us even though you're not in china. it's a huge company as we heard. ipo $25 billion and all that, but it just surpassed wal-mart to come the largest retail e in the world and it doesn't have the inventory, it doesn't actually own the goods, it's a platform. the massive scale is allowed
because it doesn't have to own the inventory. it's going to be buying or bringing in products that the u.s. makes and it's just not coach bags, i met a guy from the washington state apple commission and producers and cherries, last years, promotional event, alibaba filled three 747's and they were on the tables of cherry eaters in china. i did a lot of radio interviews. i was talking to somebody in rural new york state and in pennsylvania, you know, this is places -- they can be the small merchants and the strength comes
from representing the interest of the small merchants. i have a whole chapter. when the window and probably the shares that you're sitting on, probably most of the pictures in the room from -- the trading place. 95% of the world's toothbrushes are made there. the crazy element of concentration, what we are begin to go understand this helps propel the company alibaba. we need to know what the rise of the private sector in china. what does it mean. we hear -- tomorrow i'll be at the state department, eisenhower, defense side of things, there's chinatown not to
far from it. i've been involved in trying to connect dc and china for some time. we have some of the students that came out to china from dc public schools, like this crazy place that, you know, but has changed your life. my colleague ted who introduced me, and the back story, i love the dc-beijing connections. we are trying to connect beijing with back allies of dc that you showed me sally, just around the corner. it's just true. people to people matter and commerce is about people to people ultimately. and that's, you know, the scariest stuff will never go away and sells newspapers and there's a lot of fear out there. i had a question yesterday at
the society of new york, but other lessons from jack, it's possible for business people to go into politics. clearly the u.s. is a shining example of why that should not be the case. [laughter] >> i actually support the communist wall of china because it's actually interested. in a normal country it would be a wealthy person and they have huge constituency. i think he's a politician with a small p and he really knows what he's saying and motivates people. i saw him on the stage with bill clinton when clinton was basically hired. that's getting political. bill clinton has amazing
charisma. jack has it in space too. obviously in manila president obama interviewed because jack was on the stage, you never wanting to on stage after jack because he's -- i don't know if you've seen the videos supporting a mohawk or singing. he's not a tall guy. he calls himself et. who knew that somebody could go from being an english teacher to somebody who struggled to become -- i think we are going to take questions because we can go in any direction and i am probably doing that. at least i can blame you this time. >> first question. >> i have a question for you concerning tmob.
why is it that nike feels the need to go to tma website in china that all the westerners and international businesses are having to go to tma? >> i'm grad you answered that question. i can answer specifically. by the way brands don't put everything. they think we are the best, we want to direct relationship with the customer, often there's e-commerce, do we have to, maybe for some of the higher end brands, they want to get like training wheels on consumers basically. one consumer to know about the product so even if to go even higher up, you know, they don't want to start selling their 5,000-dollar coats but they will, scar, have some kind of promotion.
it's interesting in china you can also see porsche, ferrari eye glasses, we will get them when they're young. it's like smoking. ultimately china if you think about china it's standing on an sca -- escalator. despite slow in the economy there's still rising, there's a consumer class. so you're right, nike, for example, will they don't have the limited edition high-end stuff but they'll have frankly sometimes like inventory clearing and things like that. but it's more than that in china. it is actually the most attractive way to connect with digital -- for the middle class through platform. when i say digital. it's really cell phones. it's way over half, 60% is on the cell phones. so useful, you're right.
it's another site. virtual supermarket. it's brands that have those stories or very large merchants. towbow. they just started the cycle and that's when small merchants and they're 9 million merchants, so when i say 9 million merchants, a lot of those are individuals. so my friend ms. wong might be government official and she's trading so maybe an idea for bureaucrats in washington, but basically there's a lot of underemployed people in china as well as unemployed people or people just need to supplement their income, what these people can do, i can start selling plastic garbage cats and i could -- these are new -- this is not -- this is why ebay didn't like this stuff.
people start selling things. they could start selling fake ones. i don't know what the brand of plastic garbage cans is. you said nike. bike, sike. there's a lot of fakes. alibaba has been criticized for that. willing buyer and willing seller. a lot of people want to buy fakes not just in china. most of the westerners we see in beijing are hunting for fakes. it's getting hard because they have been shutting down markets. i will probably get myself in trouble, so i just with a british -- telling me the story about kristin lagard. she lives here. hopefully she's not in the room. she was walking one day as one visits paris and a chinese women
came to her, can you come with me, i think 200 euros, excuse me, what happens in china -- when chinese go overseas they want to buy luois vui, the, >> they are allowed two or three and that's what they do. it has happened to me. you might be able to pay for your trip in paris. so they go up to people on the street and say come with me, i just need your id to say you're buying and i will pay you, i pay up front and you keep whatever it was and to her credit kristin said yes. she actually made 200 euros or 500 euros, so the chinese want to buy the real stuff, the westerners want to buy the fake stuff. it's a market.
towbow is a scrappy market. how alibaba keeps on going, it's free. i might do. it's excite exciting as i do. i could sell them for nothing. i charge but i don't have to pay alibaba because it's free. of course, to get my plastic garbage merchant store known i'm probably going to spend money on advertising, to alibaba makes advertising but nothing from listing fees and that's why ebay dies in china. ebay famously said free is not a business model, well, it is, they're wrong, if you do something else. they do charge commission. maybe 2%, 3%. so alibaba wants to do more, much more bigger part of the business because, of course, they make commission and also the issue of fakes. but there's an issue with temo, mother -- merchants buy their own products. it'll get them up the rankings
and they're the number one licensed plastic garbage can whatever company. china, those of you who lived an visited there know it's completely unpredictable in a way that we all become addicted to. in china if you want to cross the road, i could see green does not mane it's okay. green is probably run with more awareness than red, actually. so you know that's kind of how you have to understand china, contradictory rules. when we come -- i was talking about belinda. the first day or two when we come out to china, you kind of -- i find this, i've yelled at people, like chill, life is not stressful but we miss it, we love it there. that's what alibaba has. capture the street field. so, for example, if you buy an
alibaba from merchant, let's pick another example because i'm tired of the plastic garbage can. it might be, i don't know. it's not for me. a guy selling tights, women stockings and all he does and it's very good. many people use and he's been good quality and always delivered on time and he has another job. he makes five times salary just selling women's tights on talba. it's not just one off kind of thing. they have a chat function. it's like a marriage client that popped up and you have almost like the vendors, garage can vendors but you basically have people who you know are your guide which is kind of like the old market, the umbrella person and they will give you
discounts, send you free stuff. so alibaba is thriving because it's recreating the china that we love online. they just failed, you know, even though they had a very good early start ebay but they messed it up and i have a whole chapter of humiliation of ebay. i think she was let down by some of the people in her team. so it's very long. [laughter] >> any -- next question. >> first of all, thank you for being here and sharing the story of alibaba. i was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about 10 cents and with respect to alibaba as well as if you brought up in your discussion that there's going to be a
venture here in dc and new york, where does that -- two questions. with the second question, is it going to be a government affair's office or just going to be -- again, help me out with respect to -- >> so the second one -- i mean, i think, yeah, governor relations, representative to san francisco, but they have a lot of people who work in the white house and commerce, trading bodies, you know. so clearly there's a political element or government-to-government elements because we have seen many companies do not play the card well. it's a major manufacturer and i'm originally from the uk. it's cheap and i love it but the u.s., no, sprint was not allowed to buy from them and i think it was maytag put review.
i don't know. so there's an awareness but there's also practical reasons to reach out to the commerce, i think penny has visited, in fact, my former colleague ted dean whom i met, you know, there's a growing awareness, you have to engage with government and it's true also for alibaba in china. how does alibaba deal with the chinese government and internet. i try to think of it not just in the country but global level. you have apple and the fbi. the tech companies have huge powers and influence. of course, they have to consult. the executors so jd, well, i just did a lookaround on my phone, it's a way sometimes hook up but also a way to kind of connect with your friends and so, you know, i could see her right now in dc, looks like
hundreds of people including probably chinese students but also others like ourself, you know, who use we chat as an app for daily life. in china, you can go without your wallet, this is your digital wallet. i could send you money for a great question. i could -- location, everybody in this room, we could actually put ourselves on a map, say we were dispersed over dc, we could converse using wechat, there's a huge functionty and that's been a challenge for alibaba. they were a bit late to the game. they've spent a lot of money catching up. they bought like china's twitter and invested in snapchat and things like that. but what's important on e-xers is that i think -- i can have up
to 100 people in the group if my private group, if people are selling stuff this way. the tight sky or umbrella guy can have 100 people on the group . a ten cents is a company in interesting town just across the border from hong kong and it's worth actually more last i checked. that's the main competition on e-commerce in the mobile arena. you mentioned is china's google partly because google messed up by leaving prea maturely. they didn't have to. there was a whole debate about that but also they're not innovative as a company as they would like to be like google is and struggle, but they have some aspects, headway and so right
now everything you do in china you do from your cell phone, you can order any kind of food, any kind of product will be with you normally within an hour or ten minutes, they haven investing in of -- offline to online. you need to merge on the offline commerce. you need to start blending using cell phone and other stuff. the main competition in china, bat, it's really my view alibaba ten cents. they gang up. the head of ten cents. for example, uber, in china uber
is not doing very well although traffic in dc, it's a one market. frankly they're behind. the reason they have equivalents and very quick to scale because they have huge distribution. they ended up. it was so intense with the company dd that they ended up merging them because at one point they were spending hundreds of millions of dollars, months on subsidizing so you were being paid to get in a car, the drivers were being paid and in one case alibaba was offering free beer to drivers so taxi drivers could come in and pick up a crate of beer. it may have improved the driving given conditions on the roads in beijing. interestingly bidu partnered with uber, you see alibaba are investing in the main competitor
lift. who uses lift? i think what's interesting this debate, competitive landscape in the u.s. is increasingly influenced by china and vice versa. itthis is a 3d global chess board. that's why the stakes are so high in this competition. >> take it up with management. >> appreciate it. >> one child. wonderful book. very pleased to have you. >> this is cross marketing at work. >> she sent me a thing on wechat. i'm going to ask a very simple, you know, total kind of i don't know question, what is the weirdest thing that you can buy on alibaba online, talking
absolutely strangest thing? >> okay, this is c-span? [laughter] >> bottle farts. another guy was making earrings made from mosquitoes. they were quite popular. he got lots of requests, he's a quite funny guy. jack told the story about this guy. i like matching mosquitoes. all mosquitoes are unique, like snow flakes, i'm not going to do that. so one child, so you can outsource a breakup with your girl or partner on people who offer services. it's not just products. it's services. you're too scared to break up and you get somebody to do it for you. you have a family function,
you're under prosecution to show up with a date, you know, and you're talking about the gay and lesbian world the horrible stories and a gay guy marrying a lesbian. you can hire someone to show up and pretend to be. so you name it. china increasing age population due to one child policy. i'm really overdoing it for the one child. there was a law, i think that's implemented, you probably know this or recommended that the refine if people don't visit their aging parents. chinese traditional habits to visit parents. how great would that be if you didn't have to drive -- fly to buffalo for thanksgiving. particularly if a chinese person
shows up. [laughter] >> so, i mean, anything, you name it. if it's legallish you can do it. so services, yeah. that is something a whole new arena and it's not just in alibaba, it's reflective in chinese society but in crazy stuff that's happening there. now, the person -- yes. >> hi, for those of who us -- of us that don't follow china closely, one is that xi ping has influence in using corruption to clean up the system if you want to take one kind of headline, on the other hand it's clear that alibaba is leading in a different area that you used the phrase a global situation, globalization in -- >> yeah. >> is there any interaction between the echosphere of let's
say xi ping world and the echo sphere of jack wa? >> there is. >> can you elaborate? >> it's really a key part of the conclusions of where we are heading with this. can we have these seemingly heading in different directions at the same time, you know, particularly under xi. we wouldn't be having this discussion but certainly under this centralizing influence that is xi, elements of nationalism, i think he just declared some holiday, november -- september 15th as national security awareness day. woahoo. so with the italian prime minister mateo in milan, jack
declared, september 9th wine tasting in china, buy your wine now. the chinese are going to clear it out. so on the one hand we have consumer china that's engaging china and you have the scary it's time for national security day china. so, yeah, the way i think of it is that jack is very dominant, alibaba is quite dominant in e-commerce. it has to move in new areas, sometimes it has 80 to 70% of the market. the area he chose to expand to, two of the biggest is finance and media. those where the sector plays a big role. i talked earlier about how jack created the triangle and currency for digital things in china. increasingly for everything, and when jack launched a fund saying
well, if you have money in your account, you can put it in a fund, we will pay you 2% more than the state banks and could have left over treasury, well, a hundred billion dollars went immediately into that thing and the banks were scared even though the banks controlled some of the trillions of yen, they never experienced competition like this and they've actually been pushing back and you go to the bank -- well, are you sure. [laughter] >> the banks are fighting back and the same in media, you know. the fact xi ping is increasing control, a lot of journalists quitting, but on the other hand, you know, the internet is becoming a popular way, of course, to consume information and jack is looking away to do that. the way jack jokes about this, i forget how many 78 quotes that
he always makes, it's probably going to be this one, no, this is another one. i think if people really want to be successful they have to be wise, credible and ad -- >> it's alibaba and the 40 wives. if you're marry the government, you're a polygamist. jack confided -- it won't happen again. 40,000 businesses to alibaba in one year. it could be the bureau, local mayor. he can't meet everyone himself. i went on the tour. it's amazing, you know. they have lots of maps. people are proud, chinese are proud of alibaba including
government officials. alibaba is a bright and shinea -- shiny object. jack's story is not a story it's a strategy. knowing what people need, knowing the customer and the customer sometimes is the government. i don't know the answer to where this disconnect will happen, certainly where nobody knows who the prime minister of china because he doesn't have much power, he's a good friend of jack, jack is in and out talking about internet-plus economy but doesn't really matter if xi ping is calling all the calls. xi ping was secretary. so in theory there's connections.
nobody really has chemistry over xi right now. so interesting. >> we met in hongjo in '98. >> '99. >> we went to meet jack and his wife and i think she try today sell us some real estate, if i remember. she did. do we have the mike for anne? >> i think we need it for the tv. sorry. we will -- sorry. [laughter] >> connection. >> i read that jack has now become involved in some fill to -- philisophical pursuits and is
he seeing any sort of moral authority by the way he's conducting over the years. the role of government. jack is inspired by tales of martial arts and all these things. you can argue because he talked about health care, they're investing in pharmaceutical companies, objectively china has huge problems, pollution, aging population, and jack wants to do something about it. now, in the u.s. it's easier to do something about, to seem to be doing something to help
preserve the trout fisheries and, for example, i've heard the story, i don't know if it was him but bought some land and people come out of the wood work claiming this and that. it's not easy, china is still debating how to deal with mgo's. anything that isn't the party is potentially a threat, you know, so, yeah, jack again is pushing pushing the envelope. we need to change the things. he is the lead. i'm on the board of wild made and yoa ming has made to save sharks. this is he is legacy.
why not? i think he cares about -- the gentleman that has been very patient, yes, and then we will take behind -- >> very interesting commentary. the government of china has trying to move away towards consumption for many, many years and seems to be doing it more successfully recently because exports have fallen off the cliff. this model that jack ma has come up with is very much a has-market model and do you see this actually having a significant impact on shifting the demand within china to a more domestic oriented model or even though the numbers are in the billions of billions, is ill still too just apart to make a difference? >> it's huge. talk about grocery, we are talking over 50 online.
i try not to put too many in the book. in the china it's the main course. what he means offline retail was never really efficient in china. two aspects to your questions. what can they do to encourage, actually, what can they do to save less and spend more. to save less, labor market reform, investment, social security because it's too much mattress money, that's not something that jack himself can do although they are looking -- >> the thrust of my question is, is the e-commerce space going to be significant enough to shift the economy or. >> right. >> or even despite the billions of billions and moneys that are going to be just a small portion compared to trillions of trillions of the entire economy?
>> you know, i think the symbolism, it hasn't been easy for people to buy things. there were state-run stores, this is opening new markets. it definitely helps. whether or not it's the big question. avoid the middle-income trap. it depends where you go. if you were to go to northeast right now where my partner is from and you look at the terrible situation where cold minds -- if you go to -- you'll have a complete experience. you were living for years. there are many different realities and i think alibaba is trying to make itself but it's good for them and also seem to be good for the country.
it's like the gm. what's good for america is good for gm and vice versa. that's sort of what i was going for. it's so big and integral, but, you know, may slow down the chinese economy would pray big problems, but we still have this organization and it's pretty hard to put the genie back in the bottle. that's really what is -- has been powering chinese economic revolution. but, yeah, it's going to be a race against time. >> back here. [laughter] >> i haven't seen you like in 15 years. so my question is actually related to that, so, you know, as someone who is concerned about the development of press freedom in china or lack thereof
what do you think are ma's intentions? >> actually alibaba posted in the main newspapers, i actually met jack, a column, yeah. jeff bezos has purchase it had washington post, by all accounts doing well. people have a feeling of editorial independence. that's not really accurate comparison for jack because jack personally he could have bought it personally but he did it through the company. well, why is the company doing it. it is taking them into pretty choppy waters. i mean, the hong kong is probably never been -- well, it's had rough times in the past, right, the clture revolution, tensions with uk,
but today hong kong is self-divided society and we see jack wa set up a new political party after the occupy, so why would you wonder into that. there are some argument, well, it's not just the south china post in the group that's also fashion magazines and others, but pretty hard to say that they didn't -- they're not unaware of the risks of doing it so were they asked to do it, did they want to do or did they have a choice, we don't know. the company has defended it by saying, frankly, they're investing in the business. i would say they probably safe the paper because it was on a slow decline, but we don't know what they're doing to do with the ed toils. it's not actually a very big business. they seem to interact with it. so i don't know. i think it's too early to say. i don't know they're going to
use it for, editorials for alibaba. they're more mature than that. the panamá papers, frankly they weren't in "the new york times" either. it took -- right, it took a while. who knows. they would be dumb to complete i will say nothing happened. news is sensitive including some of the innovative ones. people have been quitting, right ?
that's the whole show. i think you're right. i was just speaking with urvell shell who has written extensively as he sees as a quite deteriorating environment. i remember a few years ago, china had been recruiting talent particularly in bioequipment industry and things like that. we see people wanting to leave. this is an issue for challenge. i don't know in public schools here but certainly in new york chinese sending kids overseas because they are frustrated just like jack. not having to be again -- genius in math to study liberal arts. it's like a boiling pot with the government right now just hammering down the lid. probably not a good idea.
i think the internet can be a relief. to some extent allows people to vent and also maybe you know giving people things that they can do, play games, you know, buy stuff, retail therapy. [laughter] >> i don't know what's the answer. i think we have exhausted -- yeah. any comments? yes, we do, sorry. >> hi, i should say we were in high school together. yes, it's me. [laughter] >> yeah. basically alibaba is a marketplace so you're saying that essentially selling like crappy plastic bens. >> the origins.
>> and it's selling more and more stuff and as the chinese are trying to build this consumer-base model and everything, do you see the emergence of like major brands emerging in china? i mean, there's already hier, do you think that the emergence of global brands or at least very powerful brands, all powerful brands within china and do you think it's a model that can be expanding and that could play a part in this expansion of the consumer-based society? >> yeah, it is happening. you mentioned some names, some of these have more to the state and others more private sector. i mean, they wear black turtle necks.
if we look at the back of your phone, made in china, designed in california. they want to design in china. it's a major phone manufacturer because it's been investing heavily overseas and ultimately more chinese companies will have to come out. there are a lot of very established brands in china. most have to go overseas to go buy talent. so you're right, the internet may create a new base to develop . uses like fan clubs to take on the nokias and the apple, that's a very good question. chinese are frustrated that name a chinese car, right, volkswagen. [laughter] what do they buy? volvo.
they are keeping the volvo name. they can't really create a global brand themselves yet. lenovo sounds italian but they did buy ibm. they. >> many strategic. they already bought the hotel for a price that somebody can seem to justify. there's a lot of money in china. they need to keep talent, keep brand. another young-based company, they bought the largest insurance company in portugal. the chairman went missing a couple of days and we don't know why still. the relationship between the government and the private
sector and companies, for example, southeast asia are not great, how does that help companies. alibaba just spent a billion dollars in southeast asia buying e-commerce platform and it's having fraction issues. it's all very interesting. [laughter] >> i have 12 chapters in the book but which parter 13 -- chapter 13 is the most interesting. so i'm happy to have you here including friends i haven't seen for many years. and i'm happy to sign and stay in touch. if you find me on wechat, duncanclark.com. [applause] [inaudible]