Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has been named Special Adviser to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business.
In his new role as UNCTAD Special Adviser, Ma, 52, will champion initiatives to make it easier for young entrepreneurs and small businesses, particularly in developing countries, to participate in global trade, as well as raise awareness about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Ma is an influential and respected pioneer of the internet era, innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.
“He brings a visionary approach to entrepreneurship, a thirst for learning, and a belief in a better world that make him a perfect match for UNCTAD. Together we will be able to reach out to communities that feel left behind in today’s global landscape with a message of hope and self-empowerment,” Kituyi said.
He created Alibaba in 1999, recognising the power of the internet to level the playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Today there are more than 10 million small businesses in China operating on Alibaba’s marketplaces, UNCTAD write up said.
His proposed concept of the “eWTP” (Electronic World Trade Platform), a way to bring small and medium-sized enterprises more fully into the global economy, was included in the official communique of the G20 summit held this month in Hangzhou, it said.
In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, Alibaba recorded consolidated revenues of 101.14 billion yuan (USD 15.69 billion).
Alibaba was originally founded in 1999 as a B2B e-commerce portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers.