February 23rd, 2015
California Center Vice President, Gordon Hinkle with BRIAN WONG, Alibaba Vice President, Office of the Chairman
1990 Institute Special Event – Globalizing China’s Largest Internet Company (San Francisco, Monday, February 23rd, 2015)
Alibaba, often dubbed the Amazon and eBay of China, is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and is best known for completing the world’s biggest initial public offering, having raised $25 billion in 2014.
During a special fireside chat with Alibaba Vice President Brian Wong – a 1990 Institute board member who works with Jack Ma in the Office of the Chairman, shared his firsthand experiences inside Alibaba and its early globalization efforts – with the lens of being one of the early Americans in the company.
A Palo Alto, California native who moved to Hangzhou in 1999 during the early dot-com days, Brian spent nearly decade at Alibaba, helping it grow from a small apartment startup to a behemoth with billions in revenues. He has held a myriad of Alibaba roles, from Chief Web Producer to head of International Marketing, Senior Director of Strategic Business Development, VP of Global Sales, and VP of Supplier Development. During that time, he established and managed numerous teams and business groups within China and beyond China’s borders — from India and the United States, to Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
“It was a very informative evening hearing from one of Alibaba’s pioneer executives. Brian’s personal story of perseverance and determination was inspiring,” said Gordon Hinkle, Vice President of the California Center.
During the event, Brian shared several anecdotes and discussed: • The hard lessons learned with Alibaba’s early global expansion efforts • The journey of a Chinese company going public in the U.S. • Shaping Alibaba’s unique company culture with talent recruited outside of China • The challenges of working, living and assimilating in China as a foreigner • Opportunities for young American professionals heading to mainland China