It is officially spring and ChinaBang 2014 is just around the corner this Thursday (March 27). In addition to the awarding ceremony to groups of outstanding startups, we are going to debut a fascinating film named “Crocodile in the Yangtze”, an independent memoir on the working experiences of Porter Erisman who worked in Alibaba for eight years as vice president since 2000, at times the only westerner in Alibaba’s senior management team. Porter will join us at the event to share his insights on Chinese tech landscape.

An independent memoir written, directed and produced by Porter, Crocodile in the Yangtze captures the emotional ups and downs of life in Alibaba as a Chinese Internet startup at a time when the Internet brought China face-to-face with the West. The film follows Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, as he battles US giant eBay on the way to building China’s first global Internet company, Alibaba Group. It presents a strikingly candid portrait of Ma and his company, told from the point of view of an “American fly on a Chinese wall” who witnessed the successes and the mistakes Alibaba encountered as it grew from a small apartment into a global company employing more than 16,000 staff. It draws on 200 hours of archival footage filmed by over 35 sources between 1995 and 2009.

As an entrepreneur, cyclist and documentary director, Porter Erisman’s adventures in China began in 1994 when he landed in Beijing to study a year of Mandarin Chinese. He soon fell into a job as a host of China Central Television’s travel program “China Through Foreigner’s Eyes,” traveling to nine provinces as China opened its doors to Western tourists. After studying for an MBA in the US, Porter returned to China in 1998 and soon became involved in China’s Internet boom. When a friend told him that a former English teacher, Jack Ma, was looking for western managers to join his global e-commerce company, Porter became intrigued and decided to join Ma’s company, For eight years Porter served as a vice president in in a variety of roles.

Other amazing speakers of the event include Wen Xin (co-founder, board member and co-chairman of online retailer Lightinthebox), Ji Shisan (CEO of science social networking service website Guokr) and He Keren (dean of Design School of Hunan University, judge of Red Dot Design Award). In addition, more than 200 founders of tech startups will join after-party of the event.

Please register here and let’s party!

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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