Davos WEF
Davos WEF

Jack Ma: Alibaba is 'still just a baby'

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. at the 2014 CGI annual meeting in New York.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of China's online market place Alibaba, believes his company is still in the very early stages of reaching its full potential.

Speaking at a seminar hosted by broadcaster Charlie Rose at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ma gave a wide-ranging interview, detailing his past, present and where he sees the company in the next 15 years.

"Compared to 15 years ago, we are big. But compared to 15 years later, we are still a baby," he said at the event. His vision was for Alibaba to go truly global and act like an electronic world trade organization and serve 2 billion consumers and help 10 million small businesses outside China.

He added that he wanted to aid European and U.S. companies sell more goods to Chinese consumers and link all global nations, giving the example that Norwegian firms would be able to sell their wares to Argentina.

E-commerce will hopefully be forgotten about in 15 years' time, he said, believing that consumers will start to look it as an everyday object like electricity.

Ma told audience members about his vision on how digitization is transforming the way people buy, sell and communicate. He highlighted that he had once been turned down for a job in KFC and stated that he had returned to the economic forum to inspire the next generation of business leaders. He also spoke of his love of the movie Forrest Gump and Tai Chi.

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Running through the statistics, he said that 100 million shoppers visiting the site every day and he has helped to create, both directly and indirectly, 14 million jobs for China.

He added that he started with a team of 18 which has now grown into a workforce of 30,000.

The company's historic initial public offering took place last year, and ranks as the world's biggest at $25 billion, according to Reuters. Ma said that he was proud that investors had made a lot of money.

Responding to accusations about his relationship with the Chinese government, he said that the relationship was "interesting" but said that he believes that companies should respect their officials but not "marry them."

He said that he had a responsibility to talk to them and had previously explained how many jobs that Alibaba had created in the Chinese economy.