Small is beautiful for 21st century: Jack Ma
CHIEF executives of the world's biggest companies will meet Apec leaders at Suntec today to begin discussions on ways to rebuild the global economy.
But yesterday, Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma of alibaba.com had a different message for 700 bosses of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) attending the Apec SME Summit at nearby Raffles City: Small is beautiful.
'In the last century, big was better,' said the China-based e-commerce company's founder. 'But in the 21st century, I believe small is beautiful because it is not about how much equipment you have, it is about how quickly you can change yourself to meet the market.'
Giving a rousing keynote address at the event - regarded as a sideshow to today's Apec CEO Summit - Mr Ma took a poke at larger corporates that suffered beatings during the financial crisis.
Speaking to a packed ballroom, he said the crisis had been disastrous for many big names in the West. 'All the big companies which we all wanted to be like - today, they have all died. But we SMEs - yes we felt the pain - but we are happier now because we survived.'
Mr Ma, who trained as a high school teacher in Hangzhou, founded the Alibaba Group in 1999 after successfully starting China Pages, widely believed to be the mainland's first dot.com, in 1995.
A popular speaker at global business conferences, he also gave his take on government bailouts offered to larger companies and financial institutions.
'We have heard so many stories about big companies in trouble... They are the troublemakers, we should not give them so much support, let them die, it is time for them to die,' he said, to loud applause.
Mr Ma added that if governments want strong economies, they should turn their attention to SMEs and give incentives to individuals starting their own businesses.His reason: SME owners may start small, but they dream big: 'We believe we are tomorrow's Google, we believe we are tomorrow's eBay, we believe we are tomorrow's UPS.'
Singapore's Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan also called for Apec economies to focus their efforts on helping smaller companies.
'While we might have moved out of the worst of the financial crisis, the foundation of recovery is still fragile and can be weakened if we allow protectionism to creep in,' said Mr Lee.
At a separate event yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang noted that the Apec CEO Summit's theme of Rebuilding the Global Economy: Crisis and Opportunity was a timely one.
Speaking at the welcome reception for delegates, he said: 'It is also apt that at this critical juncture of the world economy, this year's CEO Summit has a record turnout of Apec leaders since the inception of the CEO Summit in 1996.'
The minister said that as Apec celebrates its 20th birthdaythis year, it is a good opportunity for Apec and the private sector to consider how it can develop and implement initiatives to meet future needs.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Chinese President Hu Jintao will be among the speakers at the Apec CEO Summit today.
many things in this world find neither an answer nor a proper explanation. for example, why should two become a couple among the billions of people on earth? why don't they love each other even though they live together everyday, and yet one of them falls in love with someone else at the first sight? why do the members of a family quarrel daily but still stay unhappily together? why can't they get married in spite of the fact that they are a perfect match to each other? why should one toil so much for the other? why should the love-infatuated always be deserted by the heartless?.....
people remain puzzled in spite of their great effort to understand the endlequestions, so they invented the all-embracing word---“predestination”. in order to be more precise, different combinations were derived from it: love predestination, sinful predestination, evil predestination, and kind predestination etc., hence we have the sayings like: “predestination will definitely bring you together despite the great distance while without predestination, you'll never know each other even though you are standing fact to face” “a distant couple is tied up with the thread of predestination” and even the phrases and expressions like “the god of marriage”, “predestination without luck”, “luck without predestination”, “coming acroeach other is a kind of predestination”, “enemies are bound to meet on a narrow road”, “they shall not marry each other unlethey are predestined lovers”. if people still can not find answers, they turn to “reincarnation” for help. lin daiyu is always in tears just for repaying for the water jia baoyu had given her when she was a plant in her previous life in a dream of the red mansions .
in fact, the so-called “predestination” is often a kind of coincidence or chance encounter, even a kind of accident. if you don't meet this person, you'll surely meet some one else. but people insist on adding some colors of emotions or superstition, thus generating various religious factions, the main theories of which are no more than that of “reincarnation”, “heaven and hell” and “the ever-lasting soul” etc.
but does anyone know anything about his previous life or his after life? what could he do even if he knew them? if he can't grasp the present life, what's the benefit of commenting on the visionary after life? giving up today is the same as giving up tomorrow, for they are closely connected. how absurd it is to work like the horse or cattle in the present life in order to be above others in the next life.