The main reason for visiting the city of Hangzhou was the invitation from the e-commerce company Alibaba. In the headquarter of Alibaba we received a warm welcome from our hosts Albert and Violet. During their presentation, which took place in a modern conference room, we were all impressed by the amount of information we received. On a huge screen they presented their data-dashboard where many “real-time KPIs” such as the current number of buyers and trades were shown. Albert and Violet made clear that providing platforms for trading goods (as some might believe) is not the core business of Alibaba. As a result of the enormous service they provide to their customers, Alibaba collects an incredible amount of data from their clients. The collection and usage of the so called “big data” is their real core business. Within a few years they defeated their opponents such as e-bay in the Chinese market in an impressive manner. Today, 350 million people are using the platforms of Alibaba in order to buy or sell products. Comparing this number to Switzerland, Alibaba has almost 44 times more customers than Switzerland inhabitants.
Still impressed by the presentation of Alibaba, we headed over to the West lake, which is an “UNESCO world cultural heritage”. After a traditional Chinese lunch and a walk along the lake we finally took the high speed train to Shanghai. In the evening some of the students went to the Bar Rouge where we had a welcome drink as well as an incredible view of the skyline of Shanghai.