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August 22, 2017

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Jack Ma talks about retirement, anti-globalization, AI and China

Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba group, talks to (Thai media group) The Nation co-founder Suthichai Yoon about Thailand, and the anti-globalization trend, Chin's "negative" image as well as his retirement plan. here are excerpts from an exclusive interview conducted at Alibaba's HQ in Hangzhou, China.

Suthichai: The pace with which you are working is amazing. over the past few days you have launched a cash-less coffee shop and talked about five big new trends and about launching a bank for the poor to borrow without having to go through all the normal banking processes. All these things happened in the past week alone. the pace is amazing. Don't you ever stop, Jack?

Jack Ma: We have resources of great young people. We have all the technology and all the money. With all the resources and money you have, you think of how to enable society, how to spend the resources in the most efficient way so people can benefit.

We are one of the biggest Internet companies in the world. It is not about thinking of making money. It's about how to use technology and young talents you have in enabling others. For example, [regarding] the cash-less coffee shop, we are trying to make China a cash-less society in five years. If China can make it happen, why can't other countries? We are moving so aggressively. We hope that one day when millions of Chinese people go to Thailand, they can just take their mobile phone and passport, without having to carry cash. They can go to any shops, bars and hotels and make payments through their mobile phones.

Do you plan to visit Thailand again soon? What are you going to do in Thailand?

Yes. I expect to visit Thailand again [later] this year. Actually my last trip to Thailand was very fruitful thanks to the prime minister and the Cabinet. I remember the wonderful time I spent in Thailand, talking to young people and businesspeople. Since I came back, the King passed away. I know that the whole country is sorrowing, so we said let's wait for a while. We are making progress but not in a big way. I'm thinking about going [to Thailand] this time with our CEO and our team taking e-commerce to Thailand. Based on the agreement we had last time, we are upgrading our partnership.

Apart from Thailand, What is the big picture about your strategy in Asean?

There are five countries we are paying special attention to. We visited Thailand first. Malaysia's prime minister came. He made a quick move and is taking action to make sure Malaysia is the hub for the eWTP [Electronic World Trade Platform] of the area. They are building up the first example of an eWTP hub there. We are also paying special attention to Pakistan. We think that Vietnam is also important, so too the Philippines. These are the five countries. Of course, Cambodia is a country that our team of young people is very interested in visiting. One thing's for sure, this time when I go to Thailand, a big delegation of Alibaba Group will accompany me, with logistics, financing, e-commerce and cloud computing [teams]. All our key persons will go there together.

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