Showing what makes a great Chinese entrepreneur

By Bai Ping ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-10-11 06:51:24

To us journalists, their proposals sounded absurd and pathetic. They kept visiting newsrooms everywhere, pleading with editors to allow them to lift their content for free. In return, the newspapers would share in the ad revenues if there were any on their little-known sites.

Showing what makes a great Chinese entrepreneur

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Showing what makes a great Chinese entrepreneur

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While we said no thanks, other news outlets thought it would not hurt to let the websites post their stories.

It had never occurred to them that one day they would have to beg to have their headlines posted on the homepages of these sites to reach a broader audience.

The Internet startups soon attracted more and more eyeballs until they became too big to contain.

Newspaper alliances targeting such commercial sites were formed but collapsed time and again, because Internet entrepreneurs know how to find and exploit cracks in some newspapers that want to outmaneuver their rivals, even if that means free or dirt cheap content provided to commercial sites, and to kill their own online versions.

I've heard colleagues dissecting the reasons for Ma's rise to fame, after his company completed the largest initial public offering in history in New York last month. Most are still bewildered by the success and wealth of this man who sat twice for the national college entrance exam and only ended up in a third-tier local school. Ma has admitted modestly that if he and his people can be successful, 80 percent of Chinese can be successful too.

Some said he was clever; others said he was driven by poverty; and there were those who said he was lucky. Probably all of us have wondered: why him, and not me?

Bu after we watched the video of Ma and the "thieves", we all agreed that this man has qualities that have made his success inevitable.

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