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Jack Ma unimpressed by PH internet speed

By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 12:19 AM October 26, 2017


Chinese Business magnate and founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma shares his experience during a forum with the students of De La Salle University students in Taft Avenue, Manila.
INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

Published: 2:44 p.m., Oct. 25, 2017 | Updated:  12:19 a.m., Oct. 26, 2017

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma isn’t impressed with the speed of internet connection in the Philippines, a problem that millions of users have been complaining about for years.

In a forum organized by De La Salle University (DLSU) on Wednesday, the founder and executive chair of e-commerce giant Alibaba told the audience composed of businessmen and students that he tested the country’s internet connection shortly after he arrived in the country late Tuesday night.

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“It’s no good,” Ma said, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd who are all too familiar with the internet situation.

While the country’s internet connection lags behind its neighbors in Southeast Asia, Ma pointed out that this sort of problem presented a “potential” and “opportunity” to improve.

“I encourage the government, entrepreneurs, everybody to work together to improve the speed and coverage of the internet [in the Philippines],” Ma said.

Speedtest Global Index

The Philippines ranked 94th out of 121 countries for mobile internet, while it was 91st out of 131 countries for fixed broadband, according to the “Speedtest Global Index” study in September.

In both categories, the country was outranked by its five Southeast Asian neighbors — Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Present at the DLSU forum were executives of telecommunications companies Globe and PLDT-Smart, Ernest Cu and Eric Alberto, respectively.

Ma noted though that rather than focus on who was to blame for the slow internet connection, the focus should instead be on the opportunity presented by the problem.

Opportunity

“Opportunity exists in the areas where most people complain. If you can solve the complaint, you have the chance [to make things better]. It’s a great opportunity for telcos to invest and the investment is guaranteed to return,” Ma said.

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He noted that the improvement of internet services was vital, especially for small and medium enterprises, since in the coming years “80 percent” of businesses would be done online.

This paradigm shift, Ma said, would be “really tough” for brick-and-mortar businesses that would not be able to adapt to the new business model.

“It’s not your competitor that [will] kill you. It’s the future,” he said.

Alibaba also owns online retailer Lazada, which is active in the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia.

A unit of Alibaba’s Ant Financial Group, Alipay, is a partner of Globe Telecom in Globe Fintech Innovations, a financial technology firm.

Not guarantee for success

For Ma, being smart doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

Despite knowing “very little about technology,” Ma was able to help make Alibaba, the company he founded in 1999, into the multibillion-dollar e-commerce giant that it is today.

A key step to success for him is knowing how to treat people well.

“If you want to be successful, you should have great EQ (emotional quotient). Because you’d know how to work with people. No matter how smart you are, if you never know how to work with people, you will never be successful,” he said.

You should also possess LQ or love quotient, if you want to be respected, Ma said.

While he admitted that he was “never trained to be an entrepreneur,” Ma said that his time as a student leader helped him gain valuable insight into and experience on how to work with people.

Both IQ, LQ important

“Most students pay extreme attention to IQ, but don’t pay attention to EQ. If you don’t have EQ, LQ, you won’t go nowhere,” he said.

Ma pointed out that it was also important to personally accept blame in times of failure.

“A lot of people fail because when they fail, they always complain about others. Only those people who [admit] their problems succeed. If you complain, you must have a solution. If there’s no solution, don’t complain,” he said.

According to Ma, more often than not people fail for the same reasons, either they’ve become too “greedy,” have the “wrong team” by their side or have “too much money.”

He said it was important for the youth to learn from the mistakes of those who came before them so as “not to avoid the mistakes but so you know how to face these when they come.”  /je /pdi

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TAGS: Business, Forum, internet speed, Investment, Jack Ma, telco, Telecommunications
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