When the moment comes, "e-commerce" will be reduced to just a "traditional concept," and pure e-commerce activities will be replaced by what Ma called "New Retail" -- one of five emerging trends alongside "New Production", "New Finance", "New Technology" and "New Resources".
At the opening keynote of the 7th Alibaba Computing Conference 2016 that took place yesterday in Hangzhou, the cradle of Alibaba Group, Ma spoke at length about what the future economy will look like.
Ma first started with clarifying some "commonly misused" terminologies. He said that the internet economy, more often referred to as e-commerce, has been described as virtual economy. "But e-commerce is not virtual economy. It is the future economy."
"It's been often said that 'the internet is disrupting a lot of industries,' or that 'e-commerce has destroyed traditional commerce activities.' I don't believe so, because all e-commerce did was to master internet technologies, the thoughts of the internet, and understands that the future economy will be wholly reliant on the internet. Indeed, all we did was to leverage internet technologies to create a business model that can adapt to the future, which is e-commerce," Ma said.
"What truly disrupted the various industries, employment and traditional beliefs are our thoughts that we had yesterday, the ignorance about the future, and the refusal to embrace the future," he explained. "Technologies had not disrupted you, nor had e-commerce disrupted traditional commerce activities. It is your uncertainty about the future that disrupted your business."
Among all the businesses of Alibaba, e-commerce is its oldest one, said Ma. "The word 'e-commerce' will soon be retired. Indeed, starting next year, Alibaba will no longer mention 'e-commerce,' because e-commerce is just a connecting ferry that bridges the bank from one side to another."
Five Big New's
In future, China, the world and all mankind will be deeply impacted by "Five Big New's" of the future, Ma said.
New Retail -- The era of pure e-commerce will gradually vanish over the next 10 to 20 years. In replacement, online, offline and logistics will create "New Retail": offline enterprises must go online, and online enterprises must go offline, and integrate with modern logistics, using big data. For logistics companies, for example, they should not merely focus on who can outpace who, because the true nature of logistics is to achieve zero inventory. "When you can manage your inventory well, the stock in your enterprise's inventory should drop to zero -- this is what logistics truly is about," he said.
At the Conference, Alibaba Group's logistics arm CaiNiao Network announced to launch a logistics cloud acceleration project in collaboration with Alibaba Cloud. "We are building an intelligent system for our intelligent warehouse storage. This comprises packaging, storing of goods, checking-in and out of goods, together with intelligent distribution of parcels," said Wang Wenbin, CTO of CaiNiao Network, Alibaba Group.We will also build an ET logistics laboratory this year, to research on smart logistics technologies."
New Production -- In the next 30 years, the manufacturing industry will be paying special attention to intelligence, personalization and customization. "If we do not introduce personalization and customization to the manufacturing industry, it will be doomed to destruction," Ma said. The next technology revolution will be driven by the internet of things, which is essentially artificial intelligence and smart machines. The old B2C (business to consumer) mode of production will be transformed entirely into a C2B (consumer to business) mode of production, meaning production on demand.
New Finance -- The birth of New Finance will accelerate the transformation of the entire society, Ma continued. The New Finance in the future will focus on supporting 80% of the enterprises which comprises small and medium businesses and personalized enterprises. "Internet finance will leverage data to create a true credit system. This will in turn bring about popular finance, which enables everyone to have sufficient money."
New Technology -- The existing mobile internet will soon give birth to New Technology, said Ma. This will see the replacement of old PC chipsets with mobile chipsets, the replacement of old operating systems with mobile OS, and the replacement of machines with the use of artificial intelligence.
At the Conference, Alibaba YunOS' president Chunhui Zhang announced to have partnered with Intel and HP to launch a laptop computer (pictured, right) that is purpose-built for deliver cloud-based e-learning content. Installed with YoC, a chipset that is jointly developed YunOS and Intel, this HP notebook will run on Alibaba's YunOS, which serves to integrate hardware, software and service.
New Resources -- Finally, New Resources will see future technology developments reliant on data instead of petroleum and coal. "Jian Wang said data is the first resources that humans created themselves. Old resources are like worn clothes that are no longer worthy if you wear them again. With data, however, the more you use them, the more valuable they become."