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Internet Plus offers media opportunities to expand: Ali scholar
Dai Tian
2015-07-17 14:15

Q: How should digital media extend its advantages in the "Internet Plus" drive? How will investments and startup affect the industry as a whole?

Wu: The "Internet Plus" drive is more than just setting up a website or a public account on WeChat. It should spark a chemical reaction, other than mere physical add-up. Internet companies and news organizations have their different genes. The "child" out of their marriage is most valuable, and it represents the future.

Alibaba is still exploring different possibilities and it's hard to see immediate effects. However, exploration is the biggest theme itself in today's business, just like the website browser, used to be called navigator, has another name "IE", with "E" for explorer.

The concept of Internet has been evolving since China embraced the technology in 1994. Internet was first known as a tool, like screwdriver. The most popular products back then was BBS and email platforms. As technology advanced and younger generations emerged, Internet became part of infrastructures, like water and sunshine. People ask the minute they check in at a hotel is whether there's a Wi-Fi.

We believe Internet has become an economic entity, as more people are willing to shop on the Internet. There are 360 million e-consumers in China, who spent a combined of 2.78 trillion yuan online. Li Yanhong, CEO of Baidu Inc, once said that there wouldn't be so-called Internet companies in 10 years, when all firms fall into the category.

Our understanding of Internet might be proved wrong later and definitely needs update, therefore we need to keep exploring the newness of Internet. Alibaba Research will keep exploring too.

Q: Are you bullish on some media's efforts to diversify their businesses, by adding think tank and consultancy services?

Wu: Media will only thrive by offering in-depth services. Sole information providers, like cities without moat, are easy to see their competitiveness weaken, besides competing against search engines.

Connecting people with services has proved a promising business model, and offering tailored services such as consulting or think tank is a direction for media's transformation. We are living in an age of mass innovation and entrepreneurship, an age full of opportunities for those willing to explore and adventure. For those who stick to traditions, they will only be left with anxiety.


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