Promo Marketing Interviews North American Leadership Conference Keynote Speaker Annie Xu
PM: If you had to pick the most important advice you could give a business, would you pick one of those points or something different?
AX: I would say both are very important. I think probably for the first one, many people have the consciousness and the desire, and many have already done that, but in terms of the innovation, it's not that easy, but it's not as difficult as people think. You look around, you look at trade shows, you look at events, you see very interesting products popping up everywhere. I think that's really the key, even if you want to export to China, you can't really export to China on the [price of the import], right? It has to be something different, and even if you want to export to Brazil, to South America, to Canada, if your products are unique, I think you have an advantage.
PM: With all of the global economic problems, compliance issues, all that stuff, what most keeps you awake at night in terms of you management roles at Alibaba?
AX: I think that product safety is the key challenge, and also opportunity for us. The challenge is that, as a marketplace, we don't own product, we do not even get involved in the transaction, so we don't have full control over the compliance, over the I.T. and so forth, but we realize it's important. Even a marketplace has [a] level of liability. So we're really spending a lot of time and energy on coming up with solutions to tackle those problems. We ourselves are not experts, so we work with third-party verification parties, compliance companies to bring together and establish a profile for each seller to make buyer's lives a lot easier and to help them assess which ones are the ones that are ideal reliable suppliers to work with. So it's a [tedious] process, it's not going to happen overnight, but we're really committed to do so. ... We feel it's very important in the world of information technology. Word of mouth is extremely powerful. If we can help a small group of sellers become successful, if we can help them meet with trustworthy and serious buyers, then I think the positive loop will expand and we'll get more businesses and reliable sellers doing this. So focusing on quality over quantity is definitely the priority for our business.