See the future, be the change

Being entrepreneur is never easy, and the business world never stops changing. We say once you step into the entrepreneurial world, you can only go forward to follow your dream and constantly stay competitive in the changing global environment. It’s the lifelong learning and never-ending journey for entrepreneurs to pursue the goals and success.

Today we’re in digital age, and the digital economy has transformed the world with many growing tech companies. China-based ecommerce giant Alibaba hosted its biggest ever US event in Detroit last week. Including Jack Ma, Charlie Rose, David Abney, Lisa Ling and more featured speakers, about total 60 presenters and panelists from inside and outside of Alibaba talked about the China opportunity in front of a big crowd over 3000 entrepreneurs and SME owners across the North America. All is about how to source from China and sell to China with digital technologies and power.

The Internet, big data and mobile innovation….the fast-changing technology offers so much opportunities for the business to grow rapidly and globally. In the era of digital transformation, digitalization can be a powerful tool to win the world. We have so-called Big 5 of digital economy – Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and we also have so-called Big 7 tech companies that really control big data – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu. Digital is everything, and tech companies are literally leading the world.

Looking at now and the future, some businesses that master digital technologies are getting a big piece of cake in the market. As one of top tech companies in China, Alibaba manages multiple businesses and platforms for different markets, such as the consumer-to-consumer marketplace Taobao, the business-to-consumer T-mall, and the business-to-business Alibaba.com, plus digital media and entertainment, online banking and a cloud computing service, it’s all in one. Having been called as China’s Amazon, Alibaba identifies itself more like an ecosystem to be different from the Amazon model. Alibaba’s CMO Chris Tung said that unlike Amazon as shopping channel to make the profit margin, Alibaba services as a marketplace, a bridge between the seller and the buyer through consumer data. The chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma also differences the 2 companies: “Amazon is an ecommerce company, we are not. We help other companies become ecommerce companies.”

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Thinking of Alibaba as a combination of Google, Facebook and Amazon…” Tung made a point about Alibaba’s global popularity in many countries like Russia and Southeast Asia with a presence in some countries in Europe and South America. Recently a report was published about Chinese consumers and their online shopping habits. Some very interesting data is shown the online shopping differences between the west and China. In the west, people are more likely searching online sources and going different platforms for buying experience. And in China, people are more dominated with online exploring and discovering on 1 or 2 large platforms for shopping experience. With digital power and platforms, people go online for everything: education, trendy content, entertainment, shopping and sharing on social media. From the west to the east, living in digital environment with a digital-oriented lifestyle is now and future.

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Digital makes life easy, and also raises the challenges to be able to succeed in everyday life. To win or to lose, to succeed or to fail…the stories about entrepreneurship keep going around in the business world:

Today will be terrible, tomorrow even worse;
but the day after will be beautiful.
Most companies die tomorrow night.
~Jack Ma

The struggling business can be real, entrepreneurs need a digital strategy to empower their businesses, and keep up with technology for the future. Be digital, be the change, it’s now or never, just like the famous abstract of “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. 

From Amazon to Alibaba, from big companies to small business, digital is powerful and disrupting everything, digital transformation is now and future. On the past Gateway’17 event, Jack Ma presented the Chinese dream to US sellers about cross-border business opportunities in China, and closed his an hour long keynote talk with a compelling message:

Small companies will be the future…
Embrace the change, see the future,
change yourself, don’t miss the chance!

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