Europe can learn innovation from China's e-commerce giant: experts

Updated: 2016-10-21 10:37


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BRUSSELS - European countries can learn from China's innovation-driven economy represented by leading e-commerce companies like Alibaba, experts attending a symposium said on Thursday in Brussels.

Duncan Clark, an expert on the internet and entrepreneurship in China and author of "Alibaba: the House That Jack Ma Built," told Xinhua that the firm represents an innovation-driven economy which can enlighten European countries lagging behind in this field.

China is setting out a step-by-step approach for building it into an innovative nation by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030 and a world power house of scientific and technological innovation by 2050, he said on the sidelines of a policy insight debate.

Propelling such an ambitious target forward are the country's high-profile tech companies like Alibaba, Clark noted.

Alibaba was founded by Ma in a small apartment in 1999, the year Clark first met him. It has since become one of the world's largest companies on which millions of Chinese consumers depend. Ma, for his success, has long been an icon among the youth in China and around the world.

Referring to Alibaba's innovative business mode of bringing choices to people, Clark said, "There's no Alibaba-style company in Europe, the market is dominated by US companies like Amazon and Ebay. The situation should be and can be changed."

"The key to Alibaba's success is the scale of consumers. Europe also has such a scale, so it can learn from Alibaba," said Clark, who is also chairman of BDA China, an advisory firm serving investors in China's technology and consumer sectors.

The policy insight debate focusing on innovation-driven economy is organized jointly by ChinaEU, a business-led international association, and the China Internet Development Foundation in association with Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe.

Echoing Clark's views on innovation, Chen Laiji, associate professor of Cheung Kong School of Journalism and Communication, Shantou University of China, said, "Ma and Alibaba made the most of opportunity through innovation and new technology revolution."

"But their successes also reflect Confucian thought which stresses hard work," Chen said.