Billionaire Alibaba boss Jack Ma talks shop at Vietnam E-Payment Forum

By VnExpress   November 6, 2017 | 11:20 am GMT+7

'Like it or not, the world is moving to a non cash payment era.'

Jack Ma, the chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, addressed the Vietnam E-Payment Forum 2017 on Monday morning.

Talking with Truong Gia Binh, chairman of Vietnam's leading technology firm FPT, Jack Ma spoke of his experiences in e-ecommerce and mobile payment, and how lessons from China can be applied in Vietnam. 

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Jack Ma (R) listens to a question by Truong Gia Binh, chairman of Vietnam's leading technology firm FPT at the Vietnam E-Payment Forum on Monday morning. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

On fintech

"We need banks to develop but the banks need us even more," said Ma. "Like it or not, the world is moving to a non cash payment era."

Ma explained that when banks and fintech work together, customers, government, all of us "are happy" and e-payment will be successful. 

"Security is the most important thing that an internet financial institution must have," Ma added.

The billionaire went on to explain how, unlike popular myth, cash is not a safe means of transaction when corruption is rampant. 

"When society is a cashless society, everything is digitalized, everything is transparent," he said. "No one can run away."

On startup

"The first thing is not the money. It's the idea, the thing that others can't do. You have good idea, money will come, good result will come."

Ma said one shouldn't expect banks to lend them money when they have just started a business, suggesting to turn to parents and friends first.

"Don't think too big, start with something small, and you love it," said Ma, reassuring that during the digital age "eletronic money will help you."

Alibaba chairman's final piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is "when you want to become an entreprenuer think about what you will sacrifice."

Now in its third year, the annual Vietnam E-Payment Forum (VEPF), co-hosted by VnExpress and the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam, provides an opportunity for the government, experts and businesses to sit down together and discuss the latest trends in e-payment services and the best ways to apply them in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese government aims for cash to account for just 10 percent of total payments made in 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said at the opening of the forum.   

"I believe mobile payment will soon boom and become common in Vietnam, just like we've achieved with mobile phones over a decade ago," said Hue. 

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Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue addresses the forum. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

At a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc this morning, Jack Ma said he will consider establishing a store for Vietnam on Alibaba’s e-commerce app.

Later today, Jack Ma, the world's most inspirational billionaire according to Fortune's 2017 "World's Greatest Leaders" index, will speak with 3,000 students to inspire entrepreneurship among young people.