During the Computing Conference 2016 held in Hangzhou on October, 13th, Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, reviewed the technological progress in the past few years and predicted that the future would be mainly about new type of retailing, manufacturing, finance, technology and resource.
While many people believed that internet and e-commerce pose a challenge to traditional business, Jack Ma didn’t think so, maintaining that e-commerce only grasps the core of internet technologies and internet ways of thinking and that Alibaba succeeds because it also seized the opportunity and created a business model that fit the future.
However, Jack believed that the concept “e-commerce” would soon be outdated. In the keynote speech, he pointed out that although e-commerce was still at the core of Alibaba’s business, it would soon turn it into a mere tool through which it could succeed.
Although e-commerce is burgeoning today, the next one or two decades will be about “new retailing”, that is, the combination of online retailing and offline logistics.
At that time, internet company would develop offline business, while traditional business will also develop online business. When online and offline business go hand in hand, the real “new retailing” will emerge.
The nature of logistics company is not only about becoming faster, but also about improving inventory management, reducing inventory to zero. Only then can the nature of inventory be achieved.
Jack pointed out that the future would be about new type of retailing, manufacturing, finance, technology and resource. Development in these five areas will impact not only China, the world beyond, but also every one of us.
First of all, the future will be about new type of retailing. Personally, I believe that traditional retailing face rising challenge from e-commerce in modern metropolis because it fails to seize the opportunity and adapt to the future trend.
Traditional business only dwells on the past, but don’t know how to adapt to new technologies, how to cooperate with internet companies and how to make us of big data technologies, etc. Whether we admit it or not, traditional retailing business, featured by real estate, will certainly be challenged in the future. If it is not today, then it will be someday in the future.
Secondly, the future will be about new type of manufacturing. For the past two or three decades, scale and standard are attached high importance to; in the next three decades, however, customized, personalized and smart service will be the new trend. The second wave of technological revolution will occur in IoT field. In the future, machines depend not on electricity, but on data. Besides, as retailing industry evolves, manufacturing industry will also gradually transform from B2C-based to C2B-based.
At that time, customization will be the new trend, In other words, we have to change ourselves, adapt to the market and consumers. My prediction is that the impact new type of manufacturing will pose to the current manufacturing industry in Pearl River delta and Yangtze delta region will go beyond everyone’s imagination.
Thirdly, the future will be about new type of finance. Finance industry was the very support for industrial growth in the past two centuries. In the past, development of 20 per cent of small and mid-sized companies could promote development of 80 per cent of world economy. In the future, however, the core focus of finance industry should become how to facilitate development of 80 per cent of small and mid-sized companies. After the birth of internet finance, equality and transparency will be valued more, thus traditional finance industry will certainly face some challenge.
However, challenge and opportunity always go hand in hand. Personally, I am excited to see a day when true internet finance will emerge and a credit system based on data can benefit every ordinary people. At that time, everybody will have the opportunity to get enough money when he or she needs. My prediction is that in the next decade, the Chinese finance industry will witness huge change. It is my wish that Alibaba’s Ant Financial will contribute to that cause, that is, creating an open, equal and transparent finance system that benefit everybody.
Fourthly, the future will be about new type of technologies. After the emerge of mobile internet, PC chips evolved into mobile chips, while PC operating system also evolved into mobile operating system. In the past, machines depend on electricity; in the future, data will be at the core of any new type of technology. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data will only broaden the room of imagination for the mankind.
Fifthly, the future will be about new type of resources. In the past, petrol and coal were the foundation of development; in the future, new energy and data will be at the core of any development. Doctor Wang Jian once said that this was the first time human kind created a new type of resources. In the past, resources others had used would become useless; today, however, data other people used would only become more valuable if we use it well.
Near the end of the speech, Jack concluded:
I don’t want to see people still complaining about challenge from new type of retailing, manufacturing, finance, technology and resource, now that we’ve already anticipated them here. The only thing we are left to do is seize every opportunity, begin to change ourselves and adapt to the future.
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Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.