Digitally China: The Inside View of China’s Development from 8 to 800 Million Internet Users

While Brian A. Wong's West Coast friends were all going to work for Google in the late '90s, he chose to work for an unknown Chinese firm called Alibaba - why?

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3:47 PM HKT, Fri September 27, 2019 1 mins read

Digitally China is a bi-weekly podcast from RADII hosted by Tom Xiong and Eva Xiao, and produced by Jacob Loven. On each episode, the team will tackle a different timely tech-related topic, providing key insights on all you need to know about the fast-changing nature of innovation in China. Find previous episodes of Digitally China here and subscribe on iTunes here. Scroll down to listen to the latest episode on Spotify.

This episode of Digitally China is about Brian A. Wong, about his experiences being part of the early days of Alibaba, but at the same time also a story about what it was like to witness first-hand how China grew from almost nothing to become the largest internet market in the world.

The location is a hotel in San Francisco, the year is 1999. The internet hype is at its peak. The United States at this moment has over 100 million internet users, 10 times more than China. While his friends are leaving school to join the company that seems to be the next big thing — Google — Brian is instead meeting a relatively unknown entrepreneur called Jack who is talking enthusiastically about his company, Alibaba.

brian wong ecommerce china alibaba

As with many of his friends on the west coast of the US, Brian believes that technology will change the world. But instead of staying in his hometown and the Middle Kingdom of innovation, Palo Alto, he moves to Hangzhou, a “lower-tier” city in China, to work with e-commerce in a country that barely has any internet users.

In this episode we’re listening in on Brian’s story and reflecting on his learnings from the growth of the Chinese technology sector — what we can learn from it and how it will impact the rest of the world.

Listen to the latest Digitally China episode below or find it (and previous episodes) on iTunes here.

Editor’s note: This episode of the Digitally China Podcast features as its main guest Brian A. Wong, RADII’s founder and chairman talking about his work in China, primarily with Alibaba. The editorial direction of the episode was set by the Digitally China team. RADII operates with editorial independence.

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