Alibaba’s Jack Ma is propagating the new testament of business in China saying that the age of shady relationships, referred to as “guanxi” (关系) in China, is over.
“Today’s China, today’s age, this is the optimal age for doing business,” said Ma (in Chinese) during the recently held 4th World Zhejiang Entrepreneur Convention. Talking about the new circumstances defining this age, Ma said that in order to be an entrepreneur today there is no need to bribe anyone or get things done through “inexplicable relationships.”
The reason behind this is the shining example of China’s government:
“No country in the world has such an environment: only the Communist Party of China has self-advanced and self-innovated in the past five years. The work of China’s clean and honest government has attracted the attention of the world: there’s no county in the world like this.”
Ma went on to say that the two biggest advantages of the country are political stability and social security. Jack, of course, may have missed the news about Beijing’s migrant expulsion at the time.
“Our country is the safest country in the world: the safety of the common people relying on political stability and social security. Plus the economy continues to grow at more than 6%— this country has the best business environment.”
Alibaba’s CEO also mentioned the latest government buzzwords in China—the Belt and Road Initiative and structure-side reform, while talking about their role in propping up entrepreneurship. He also saved some compliments for himself, saying that his
exhibitionist outspoken personality was the reason behind his success.
It’s no secret that tech companies in China have been getting closer to the government with media reports saying that Beijing will take a 1% stake in big tech firms including Alibaba.
Alibaba’s operations have also caught the public eye recently over accusations of monopolizing the e-commerce trade and reports that Alibaba makes merchants choose between itself and rival JD. Alibaba, in turn, has accused JD of promoting the idea of a government-led antitrust probe into Alibaba’s platform Tmall. Maybe what Jack Ma means is that there is only one kind of “guanxi” entrepreneurs in China need.