Macau should make use of the Internet and big data to build itself into a data city, Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, said at University of Macau (UM) on Monday.
Ma, also known as Ma Yun, made the suggestion during a public lecture hosted by the Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce, which is headed by the 51-year-old business magnate and philanthropist, at the public university on Hengqin Island.
Ma also said the city should establish a new type of Internet financial system, instead of building an ordinary one, “on top of its existing foundation”, adding that he had discussed the idea with Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, who was among several hundred attending Monday’s lecture on the UM campus.
Ma said he expected the global financial system to encounter some earth-shaking changes in the next 30 years, adding that Internet finance would definitely be a future trend.
“The characteristics of Hong Kong and Macau, in my view, is their openness and willingness to accept things coming from elsewhere,” Ma said.
Saying that he was optimistic about the city’s financial development and “Macau’s future development as a smart city”, Ma said Macau’s big opportunities “lie with its small and medium-sized enterprises” (SMEs).
Ma also said that one of Macau’s relationship with Portuguese-speaking countries was one of its development opportunities, namely for its SMEs and its young people.
“It is my personal belief that young people [from Macau] should visit the mainland if they have the chance. There’re so many opportunities [in the mainland].”
He also said Alibaba Group welcomed Macau’s young people to do internships and work at the tech giant, adding the group planned to organise trips so that local youngsters can learn more about the mainland’s development.
Asked by reporters after the over one-hour-long lecture and Q&A session in Putonghua whether Ant Financial Services, an Alibaba Group affiliate, will list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Ma said he very much hoped that will happen. Ant Financial Services has been valued at US$ 60 billion, according to a South China Morning Post report last month.
Meanwhile, according to a statement by Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On’s office on Monday, Ma has accepted the government’s invitation to become a consultant to the Science and Technology Council and Economic Development Council. Both are government-appointed advisory bodies.
Ma also attended Monday’s founding ceremony of the Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs of Macau.