A Voice Arts Award Nominee
A 2015 Wall Street Journal Best Book for Business Books
In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history—bigger than Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world’s largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base larger than Amazon’s and handling the bulk of e-commerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride?
In Alibaba’s World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba’s first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world’s most dominant e-commerce player. He shares stories of weathering the dotcom crash, facing down eBay and Google, negotiating with the unpredictable Chinese government, and enduring the misguided advice of foreign experts, all to build the behemoth that’s poised to sweep the ecommerce world today. And he analyzes Alibaba’s role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape—with its focus on the East rather than the West, emerging markets over developed ones, and the nimble entrepreneur over the industry titan. As we face this near future, the story of Alibaba—and its inevitable descendants—is both essential and instructive.
“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.”
New York Journal of Books
“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…A fascinating insider’s look at the digital opening of China.”
“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 The People vs. Larry Flint
“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
George Newbern is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and a television and film actor best known for his roles as Brian MacKenzie in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II, as well as Danny in Friends. As a voice actor, he is notable for his role as Superman on the Cartoon Newtork series Static Shock, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. He holds a BA in theater arts from Northwestern University.
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- Publisher: Blackstone Audio
- Genre: Nonfiction
- ISBN-13: 9781483085180