Image credit: Alibaba

Alibaba’s charismatic leader Jack Ma today (September 19) called for Chinese traditional manufacturers to fully embrace what he called the “New Manufacturing” model at The Cloud Computing Conference held in Hangzhou.

Ma first put forward the concept at The Computing Conference in 2016, along with four other new trends of New Retail, New Finance, New Technology, and New Energy. The following market development has proved him right as the new retail trend gradually taken China by storm ever since, not only boosting the growth of Alibaba but also fostering a burgeoning ecosystem surrounding the new concept. Given Jack Ma’s leading position in China’s internet industry, his new proposal is expected to trigger a trend.

Similar to new retail, New Manufacturing involves a transformation of traditional manufacturing industry by integrating technology capabilities in the internet, data, AI, cloud computing and IOT.

“New Manufacturing will bring swiping challenges and opportunities to manufacturing companies in China and around the world. In the future 10 to 15 years, all the pain points of the manufacturing industry will be far more serious than those for today and we should get prepared,” said Ma.

With the rise of the internet industry, some warn that the manufacturing industry is disappearing. Ma argues that manufacturing that will not disappear. “It will be an innovation for both technology and mindset,” he added.

The trade war is a fight for the old manufacturing industry, according to Ma. “Proposing the New Manufacturing model is not because Alibaba plans to enter the manufacturing industry, but rather to help manufacturing companies to innovate and upgrade,” he said. “During this shift, the current manufacturer-oriented industry will transition to a new era led by customers, where small- and medium-sized enterprises can benefit the most.”

Ma reiterated that the trade war is a perfectly normal consequence of technology development. He projects a more open future where traditional trade war will be eliminated in the new “Made In Internet” era. “Trade will take the form of parcels instead of containers in the future and the driver of trade progress won’t be certain factories or enterprises, but millions of individual customers. When country boundary no longer exits in trading and every individual becomes a participant, rules have to be redefined and traditional trade wall won’t be a problem then,” Ma explained.

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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