I remember how impressed I was by my visit to the Alibaba concern headquarters back in 2018. I was all the more eager to read “Smart Business. What Alibaba’s Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy,” a book published by Harvard Business Review Press.
Ming Zeng, the author, is one of China’s most respected strategy theoreticians and practitioners. He was a strategic adviser to Jack Ma at Alibaba Group for over a decade (2006-2017). He is now the head of Alibaba Group Academic Council and Dean at the Hupan School of Entrepreneurship founded by Ma and other Chinese business leaders.
His book is worth reading for one reason: telling the history of Alibaba it allows to understand the innovative potential of the Chinese market, and to learn the vision of the future for companies which thus build their value. The author uses Alibaba’s example of strategy, development and operations to illustrate the differences between a smart company (based on data intelligence) and traditional models.Zeng reveals how the sales phenomenon of November 11 was born in China (so called Singles’ Day), he also describes the birth of Chinese Internet celebrities; their ways of acting, so different to those we know here in our corner of the world. We are accustomed to influencers selling products of various brands, in China celebrities sell their own products. How? Zeng describes how the greatest stars operate and how Ruhan works – a company that helps such influencers spread their wings – it’s all there in the book. He writes:
In the next decades skillful network coordination will be one of the most important new elements of value creation strategy.
Highly recommended book. Read more about China on contentic
It is available via Harvard Business Review website.
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