stepping down on Tuesday as Alibaba chairman after 20 years of leading the company, an old interview has resurfaced on Chinese social media.ith Jack Ma
In the interview, an extremely skeptical BBC World reporter, evidently perturbed over the recent dot-com bubble burst, goes after Ma, asking him how he plans to ask actually make money through the internet. Here’s a transcript:
Reporter: Tell us something we’ve never heard about the internet. We’re fed up with hearing what it might do. Tell us something we haven’t heard before.
Ma: Well, in Asia, whenever you go on the street, like in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, all the young people talk about internet and think about setting up an internet business, so the fever of the internet right now in Asia is trying to catch up with the US.
Reporter: Are you a millionaire?
Ma: Now, no.
Reporter: Do you want to be?
Ma: Well, I hope. Naturally, if I can be.
Reporter: Because in Hong Kong people are going bonkers about it. We’ve seen the scenes. What is the money you’re making? How will you make money on the internet and why should anyone wonder about it, if it’s not making money?
Ma: Today. The site right now we do not make any money out of our site. It’s totally free because we want to try to attract more attention.
Reporter: Can you see why people think it’s so much hot air? You don’t make any money. You’ve got extraordinary claims, and yet you make nothing.
Ma: That’s the internet.
Of course, Ma did eventually figure out how to make money out of the internet. Alibaba is one of the world’s biggest companies, valued at $480 billion, while Ma himself has an estimated net worth of $41.8 billion.