Alibaba Annual Party

Company culture is not just a catchphrase. 
It becomes much more critical for any enterprise, regardless of the size of a company.

Why does it matter?

A strong culture of a great company unifies and educates people, and it may have a vast and lifetime impact on its employees.

The company culture and core values at Alibaba Group are vital that significantly contributed to the company’s success beyond its corporate strategy and leadership.

With the strong and unique personality, the Chinese e-commerce giant has reaped the benefits of being the frontrunner in the global market.

Alibaba’s Taobao was launched in 2003 in China. It’s a consumer-to-consumer marketplace similar to eBay.

In addition to Taobao, Alibaba owns and operates e-commerce related businesses.

Most notable are TMall, a shopping hub for brands like Apple and Prada to sell products directly to customers.; Alipay, a leading third-party online payment solution; Aliyun, a cloud-computing service; Cainiao Network, the logistics division of the group and etc.

The Biggest IPO ever

Alibaba was successfully listed in the US stock market in 2014, and it was the biggest IPO ever!

Its share price has rallied over 100% to USD158.89 (as ended at 17th September) compared to the IPO price of USD68.

The company’s aspirations helped it grew from just 18 employees to a giant of 66,421 employees; from a start-up with RMB500,000 (USD72,745) only to more than USD410 billion market value nowadays.

Inside Alibaba’s ‘Kung Fu’ culture is codified in the six core values, which also known as “Six-vein spirit sword” (六脉神剑).

These core values have not only contributed to the success of Alibaba, but it also will continue to shape a better future of the company.

The 6 Core Values that have built Alibaba:

  • Customer First

Customer is King, so Alibaba always practices the principle of “put the customers’ best interest first” which is one of the critical elements to success.

The company has made it easy for small businesses to set up on the site.

It has also built a customer-oriented infrastructure to make it easy for buyers to search for and purchase items in its marketplace.

Moreover, the company focuses much on the customer interest by fired several senior managers who allowed fake products on the site and installed a quality control program to ensure that suppliers were trustworthy.

These measures built the customer trust that allowed Alibaba to beat eBay, which exited the Chinese market in 2006.

  • Teamwork

Alibaba believes teamwork enable ordinary people to achieve extraordinary things.

It’s more important to find a team that works well than a dream team made up of all-stars with great resumes.

Porter Erisman, the former Vice President of Alibaba said: “we tried that at Alibaba, a team of western managers with MBAs and really nice resumes. However, the team didn’t work well together.”

So, it’s better to work with a team where everyone is focused on a goal and less on themselves.

  • Embrace Change

In this fast-changing world, any enterprise must be flexible, innovative and ready to adapt to new business conditions to maintain sustainability and vitality in your business.

The “embrace change” vein of the sword is reflected in Alibaba’s frequent rotation of its employees between regions and roles to broaden their experience.

Although this will create lots of challenges, the company asks its employees to embrace setbacks and do not shame by failure.

  • Integrity

Alibaba expects employees to uphold the highest standards of honesty and to deliver on their commitments. Why does it matter?

The call to “integrity” highlights the fact that corruption is a constant risk for Alibaba.

There are millions of merchants are constantly looking for ways to promote their wares on Taobao, but just overseen by only a few thousand xiaoer (service manager) referees.

  • Passion

The secret to long-term, consistent success for a business is to have passionate employees that are consistently working towards a big goal and thinking big.

Alibaba always encourages employees to approach everything with fire in their belly and never give up on doing what they believe is right.

A passionate employee will use genuine attitudes to help the customers to address a different kind of problems.

It’s no doubt will improve customer satisfaction and bring the company move to a higher level of success.

  • Commitment

The employees who demonstrate perseverance and excellence are richly rewarded.

Alibaba encourages their people to work “work happily and live seriously,” so there is nothing should be taken for granted.

Many enterprises want to learn from Alibaba as it has built a strong corporate culture and innovative business models.

They can learn about this exceptional culture through books and videos and or even experience this by visiting its HQ in Hangzhou, China, such as QUEST Business Learning Trip which hosted by the well-known business coach KC See; Jeff Chin, the CEO of Socialmex; as well as Dato’ Sri Dr. KC Lee, the Group Chairman of Majestic Express Holidays Sdn Bhd.

In my opinion, this is an experiential learning trip because it offers an opportunity to meet with Alibaba’s top management to discover its secrets of success, as well as networking with people from the business circle.


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