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Alibaba's World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business Hardcover – May 12, 2015
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**Selected as one of the Best Business Books of 2015 by the Wall Street Journal**
“Fascinating...stories don't get much better than Alibaba's.” ―The Financial Times
“Few westerners have had the opportunity to be in the inner sanctum of a Chinese company. Erisman makes you feel like you were there through the all trials and tribulations -- from Alibaba's humble origins to its David vs Goliath meetings with the chiefs of eBay, Google and Yahoo, to its remarkable arrival as Internet titan. A must-read, full of practical learning for anyone seeking to understand Chinese entrepreneurship or build the business of their dreams.” ―Nick Arnold, former Head of Marketing, Apple Asia
“A fascinating insider's look at the digital opening of China...Erisman's comprehensive account of "how a schoolteacher rose from obscurity to build the world's largest e-commerce company" provides a dizzying look at this company's startling birth, growth, and success.” ―Publisher's Weekly
“An absolute delight to read. Porter Erisman has crafted an insider's loving portrayal of the world's largest e-commerce site, from its humble beginnings in Hong Kong and rural China to its present-day dominance of the online China trade... The book is written in a fresh, engaging style that creates a sense of immediacy and empathy for Alibaba's team. If you like a well-written business yarn, read Alibaba's World. It's how the East was won.” ―The New York Journal of Books
“It is difficult to imagine anyone more qualified than Porter Erisman to provide Westerners with deep insight into one of the greatest business stories of China, and of this century. That Porter happens to be an extremely engaging writer with a wry and savvy eye makes this not only a must-read, but an utterly enjoyable one too.” ―Janet Yang, film producer of THE JOY LUCK CLUB and PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLINT
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The truth is encompassed in all the complicated meanings of the classic word "guanxi", but what matters is the cause and effect. In China both historically and today stronger but more corruptible government combined with a weaker rule of law provides much less recourse after the fact for one who has been cheated so far more effort is put into getting to know, building relationships with, and learning to trust potential business partners BEFORE risking a lot of money, but for obvious reasons, this is a much harder thing to do in e-commerce. A good chunk (though by no means all) of Alibaba's success can be attributed to their coming up with various successful ways to build trust between potential e-commerce business partners in China and (not incidentally) in Alibaba itself: escrow payments held until the purchaser is satisfied, offering services for free to start out, and something as simple as offering online chat rooms so that potential clients who have never met can begin to get to know each other.
Of course as author Porter Erisman freely concedes, neither Ma nor Alibaba are perfect and everything they did can be learned (or learned from) by Western competitors, starting by reading this book. The cool thing about economic competition is that there are no final battles.Read more ›
Erisman is a former VP of the company and not active since 2008. Much has changed since then. Erisman was there at the start and this book concentrates on the discussions his role of international marketing. He was informed of much of the actions, strategic moves and decisions rather than being on the inside making them. That inside insight is what I was looking for and did not find.
The book is not without some gems, but you have to hang in there to find them in between the personal memoir approach. Readers will have to wade through the first 100 pages to get to them. There is an interesting description of social marketing starting on page 122 - 124. The book devotes the middle part to the Yahoo deal and a battle with eBay. Interesting but not as insightful enough if you are looking to understand Alibaba.
Perhaps my expectations for the book was too high, but given the subtitle on how the company is changing the face of global business I don't think so. Personal memoirs about important companies are a popular genre now. If you are looking for that, then please consider this book. But if you are looking for more, concentrate on the other books about Alibaba that take a more critical and comprehensive point of view.
This is a fast read but highly engaging. Now, if you are searching for business insight...there is some contained between these pages especially toward the end of the book but that is not the focus. If you are searching for a biography or autobiographical account...well, this isn't exactly that either. It's a bit of a hybrid which only makes sense given the history (and future) of Alibaba.
And that is perhaps where this book shines; by understanding where and how Alibaba arrived at its current position in the world, the reader can better understand the how, why and what is likely to be the future of the company...and Alibaba just may play a more significant role in the future of business here in the West than anyone could have previously imagined.
Imagine a front row seat from the early days of Alibaba, through its growing pains and more importantly insights on its CEO Jack Ma.
Not only is it a fantastic account of the early days of Alibaba, it had actionable lessons based on the wisdom of Jack Ma.
Some of the accounts contain golden nuggets of information of the Alibaba story that is nowhere to be found on the web.
What is even more interesting is the fusion between western and Chinese philosophy applied to business.
A highly recommended read and a must have for any entrepreneur.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Building the business from the customers views or ground up approach ; understanding the needs of the customers and transforming it an experience modelPublished 27 days ago by Amazon Customer
Insightful story of how Jack Ma started Alibaba. I enjoyed listening to the book, and to get a feel for the challenges how Jack Ma overcome them to start Alibaba. Read morePublished 1 month ago by William Teh
Very interesting reading of the inside story. The post departure chapters are not as good though. Sounds like one is reading from Alibaba's prospectus.Published 4 months ago by Anthony Tong
Awesome read. I could not put it down until I finished it.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was not the book I was.expecting. I was expecting a history of Alibaba and in depth analysis of this now famous.Company. I got something better. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
a real story from an insider made this book more interesting comparing with those books written by reporter or press.Published 9 months ago by YOUNGIL YOO
Must read for all those interested in understanding e-commerce. Easy read and very informative. Would also recommend seeing the video crocodile on the Yangtze.Published 9 months ago by Arya Sen
Bezos - Amazon's CEO - showed up and took notes when Alibaba's CEO showed up and lectured about Alibaba.
We know very little about China's new capitalism. Read more