Anticipation built as Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, took the stage for his speech.
The 2,800 available tickets for the opening ceremony were snapped up faster than ever before – not least for the chance to see this online business sensation, who’s been described as a genius on the same level as Steve Jobs, live.
Jack Ma attended CeBIT for the first time 14 years ago. Back then, he already wanted to help small Chinese companies break into the German market. In 2007, following a modest initial success, Ma introduced Alibaba Digital: the digital solution for connecting Chinese companies with businesses all over the world via the Internet.
The world is rapidly changing, and traditional businesses have to take this into account. The market will soon function on a C2B (consumer-to-business) model, where the customer determines the design of the product. This requires flexibility – one of the reasons why Ma also hopes to see more women at the helm of companies. The future will come down to brains over brawn.
Ma concluded his speech by stating that it's not technology that's changing the world, but the dreams behind it. Just as he used to help propel small businesses from China onto the international stage, he now wants to help bring companies to China. And nothing stopped him from throwing in a bit of self-promotion at the end – for his new online payment service, which uses facial recognition to identify the user.