Day 5: Alibaba and the 40 Starbucks.
On Thursday, Kane and I woke up with a sense of excitement. I haven’t said much about this in the diary yet, as I didn’t want to ruin it’s surprise. But we were informed on our night of arrival that Alibaba had heard about us coming over and wanted to meet to chat about what we’d be doing with Global Primo, in our new partnership. That meeting would be Thursday morning. Thursday morning is now.
Let’s add a little something in here for those who aren’t sure who Alibaba is (which is probably most of you). We had no idea who Alibaba was before we became involved with Global Primo. This is how BBC News recently described Alibaba:
China’s Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company. Think of Alibaba as the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, eBay, PayPal and Groupon all rolled into one. Its initial public offering could be bigger than Facebook, whose IPO valued it at $104.2bn (£65.2bn). Alibaba’s profits are 10 times that of Facebook, making their upcoming IPO, the biggest tech IPO in the world.
So yeah, big meeting. We got ready and headed downstairs to meet our driver for our daily trip to Starbucks on our way to the office. We didn’t know who it was from Alibaba would be calling by the office yet; we speculated over who it would be and what they’d want with little old us. As we arrive at the office, Lisa greets us with the news that we’re actually going to go to the Alibaba HQ. This is amazing. Alibaba HQ is like the equivalent of being invited to Google HQ in California. We will be meeting with the Product Manager of Alibaba. They wish to discuss pushing our service with Global Primo through to Alibaba too. This is huge news. Suddenly the pressure mounts.
We head round the corner (quite literally) to Alibaba HQ and we’re given lanyards that allow us to get into the complex. It is amazing. You know you’re walking into one of the world’s biggest Tech complexes in the world. The architecture of the building is remarkable. We’re told that the average age of employee at Alibaba is around 24, and that becomes pretty evident as we walk in.
Our meeting is to take place in the on-sight Starbucks (yes, another Starbucks). We obviously can’t go in to too much detail here on the meeting itself, but trust that it went very well. Kane, Connie, Lisa and I celebrate with frappuccinos and then have a secondary meeting about something Kane and I aren’t involved. So we just sit and slurp drinks looking on intently as Chinese is spoken at frighteningly quick rates.
Buzzing from the meeting at Alibaba, we head back to the office and perform another presentation to another group of businesses who have called by the offices. This one goes really smoothly as Kane and I start to really get in the groove of presenting in China. The day had a more relaxed feel as the unknown was no more, we really started to feel a part of the set-up at Global Primo.
In the evening, Lisa, Adrien, Felipe, Kane and I headed over to West Lake, Hangzhou – to have dinner and take a stroll around the lake at night. Kane and I are flabbergasted at the beauty of the place. We had no idea that such a serene and peaceful place was literally just around the corner from the hustle and bustle of where we’ve been spending our time so far. The meal was fantastic, and strolling around the lake afterwards was stunning. Kane and I both agree that we’d have to come back in the day time and check this all out again.
We jump in a taxi and head back to the hotel. Great day.