In an interview with the media on Aug 8th, 2017, Alibaba’s CEO Zhang Yong talked about the status of the new retail business. "The growth of employment opportunities usually happen when innovation appears in our society," he said, “the commercial innovation such as ‘new retail’, will certainly bring us new business opportunities and growth in jobs.”
Zhang Yong believes that the birth of new things, which are a challenge to the existing ones, will be a big business opportunity. This big business opportunity is dependent on how we recognise the challenge and how our creativity is stimulated by it. Mr Zhang presented Alibaba’s “unmanned product lines” as an example: Alibaba’s starting point was not to turn all the services into unmanned ones, but to make people’s life be much easier and more convenient. And there were still some services which required the support of humans.
No matter what changes were going to happen, either in the types of services or their providers, most cross-border attempts in the ‘new retail’ are realised by learning the customers’ needs and bringing them new and better service experiences, through the application of technology and data.
“Alibaba is not a retail company. It is a company that helps entrepreneurs to do retail,” said Zhang Yong, “One of the ‘new retail’s goals is not to defeat anyone in the retail, but to encourage the integration of various business formats, building new business opportunities. There will be more chances, like the combination of online and offline, brought by the integration of technology, data and industrial ecology. The same thing happened in history when the carriage was replaced by the car. After the challenge in the short term and the combination of the new and old technology, it brought people the new commercial opportunities and jobs.”
Mr Zhang pointed out that “there is no doubt that it will be challenging to the worker, who currently master the traditional work methods, when the new technology starts affecting their business. They have to adapt and acquire the new skills needed for the business in question. However, all the changes in technology and business will finally bring people new opportunities and more new jobs. It is the emergence of new things which will enable society to move forward.”
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