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Talent project gives Alibaba global edge

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-14 07:56
Trainees from Russia take courses at Alibaba's Taobao University in Hangzhou in September 2019. [Photo by Niu Jing/For China Daily]

International workers gain skills and experience through unique initiative

With its diverse culture and delicious food, China has long captured the imagination of Zahra Roji Baitie, a British Ghanaian whose father traveled frequently to the country for business during her childhood.

But what propelled the 28-year-old to spend several years here was the myths and miracles China has created in the digital realm, which represents a fertile ground for some of the world's most innovative businesses and inspirational stories.

A development studies graduate from Yale University, Baitie has always trained her sights on inclusive growth models, working on several field projects in Africa for a London-based consultancy. A master's program at Tsinghua University took her on a weeklong dive into Alibaba, the internet emporium that has pioneered a multitude of things in China from mobile payments to rural e-commerce. From there she sensed immense opportunities.

"Learning the role of digitalization and the idea of smart governance presented by Alibaba executives, I was blown away by the various opportunities for Alibaba's globalization journey and the impact Alibaba has in China," said Baitie, who works at AliExpress, a business-to-customer site serving overseas markets of Alibaba.

"There were a lot of opportunities for people who were interested in bridging China with the rest of the world and supporting this expansion of Chinese companies like Alibaba to engage with the rest of the world in a sustainable and impactful way."

Alibaba sees its go-global strategy as one of its three growth pillars, and has vowed to serve 2 billion customers globally by 2036. International talents are crucial to realizing that goal.

Baitie was recruited under the Alibaba Global Talent Development initiative, which is a two-year program putting high-caliber, international workers on its international facing business units. The program includes on-the-job training, workshops and a buddy and mentor program.

"AGTD members will gain in-depth business knowledge and cultural experience at Alibaba," said Alfred Yao, senior talent development manager at Alibaba. "We expect graduates to take critical roles in key global businesses."

AGTD was borne out of a previous initiative called the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy, which debuted in 2016 and recruited two batches of candidates who were put on rotation arrangement. Now it has evolved into an umbrella organization responsible for developing various training programs like AGTD.

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