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Predicting Internet's future without a crystal ball

Updated: 2015-09-04 09:03
(China Daily)

How can traditional media innovate themselves?

Media should embrace the market and make good use of the Internet. Traditional media organizations are under heavy pressure but Internet media are also struggling.

Very few of them are profitable. The two groups need to work together to figure a way out.

How do you see the current innovative tide?

No one succeeds simply through an idea. We tried at least 1,000 ideas and only one of them proved to be right. Every time when my idea or project failed, I made adjustments and gave it another try. I believe that is how most entrepreneurs run their businesses.

Never try to hit the market with just an idea. In fact, the financing environment now is far better.

In the past, we thought 2 million yuan was enough to take care of everything in our entire lives but now it is kind of embarrassing if a company can't raise over $1 billion.

Do you consider yourself as a man of many ideas?

Not so many. It is just that our ideas work for a certain direction. The top priority for starting a business is doing what you really love.

Secondly, start with what you are most good at and that is the easiest part. Never dream that tackling the toughest part will help you succeed forever.

What do you think is necessary to tackle problems like funding?

Many thought that I can tackle the problem as long as I get money. But that is not the case.

When Alibaba was founded in 1999, we were short of money. Everyone contributed a little and we got 500,000 yuan ($78,000).

We thought the money was enough for a year but it lasted just three months. So we had strict plans of how to spend each and every penny.

That is also the reason why starting a business in the garage is more likely to succeed. Rich kids often fail because they have easy access to money.

Funding is important, but it is not the key to success. Teams, ideas, speed and persistence are all important.

The Internet market in China is dominated by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. What do you think of this industry pattern?

If BAT still dominates the Internet market in 2020, then some problems will have occurred in the industry as well as within BAT. I believe a number of businesses, which no one has ever heard of, will emerge in the next decade, defying conventional wisdom.

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