Jack Ma Returns to Hupan: Birthplace of Alibaba

Hupan Garden, Jack Ma’s Hangzhou apartment in 1999. A place where Alibaba was born and took the internet world by storm. The pure Chinese B2B website gave a tough competition to the internet giants such as eBay and Amazon and built its presence as one of the top websites in the world.

In a YouTube video featured by Alibaba Group, after retiring as Alibaba Chairman, Jack Ma returns to Hupan and talks about his memories of the early days. Jack tells how all the friends used to fight but work hard and what he envisioned about Alibaba in the future.

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In the video, Jack Ma says: When I come back here, it’s like a movie in my mind. This is the place where we all started. Jack says he is optimistic and always looks forward to the future.

Jack says, starting Alibaba was not easy.

Every time I come back here, I get emotional that wonder how this could even happen?. How could we go through all these days? Without passing through those tough days, we could never be where we are today. Jack Ma tells while remembering his early days at Hupan.

Memories of the first day:

Jack tells, he remembers the first day and pictures it as it happened yesterday.

He and his friends came to Hupan in this apartment and placed their luggage. Jack says, he told his friends that this is the place we’re gonna work for a year.

Probably we’re gonna eat here, we’re gonna sleep here we will be working day and night here and we will probably achieve something.

Jack says, he told his friends, if things do not work out, we all will have to go out and look for a job but before we get to that point, let’s work hard and make things happen.

The Goal:

The goal was absolutely clear. Jack Ma wanted Alibaba to be one of the top ten websites in the world. The funny side is, the website was ranked in millions (early days) when the business started. From that point, we thrived hard to reach the top 10.

We worked very hard, day and night.

The Target Audience:

According to Jack, Alibaba’s focus was on small businesses, young people. The company vowed to empower young people to do business by giving them tools to turn their ideas into vision. Jack, previously has also talked about the importance of helping others to empower yourself and grow in business.

Internal Fights:

There were 18 people who played their role in helping Alibaba take off. Jack says — they used to fight a lot. One day he got everybody inside one room and said.

I put all 18 people together in one room. We used to have a lot of internal fights. I told them, we’re lucky we are all in a small room. I believe, 10-15 years later, you cannot even find each other. Some of you will be working in Beijing, some in Shanghai and some may move to the United States.

He also told his friends that “You probably will never meet each other, respect now and appreciate the days you are together“.

I hope, 60 years later, people still remember this apartment.

We shall never lose the dream we had from Koopa in this apartment. Tells emotional Jack Ma at the end of the video.

Watch the video:

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Written by Hisham Sarwar


That is all you ever need to know about me but let me warn you, freelancing for me is a journey, certainly not a destination :)