Loading Events

Register for free

Alibaba is one of the largest and most valuable companies in the world. Launched in 1999 by former English teacher Jack Ma and 17 others, the Chinese e-commerce giant has exploded into global markets, disrupting conventional businesses and creating previously unimaginable opportunities for millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide.

Join us in a conversation between Brian Wong, former Alibaba Group Vice President of Global Initiatives and special assistant to Jack Ma, and Nancy Yao, President of MOCA, and discuss Brian’s newly published book, The Tao of Alibaba, the first insider’s account of the “secret sauce” behind the Alibaba’s transformation from a tiny startup to a digital giant. Brian will share how Alibaba’s unique culture and “tai chi” management principles are providing a business and economic development model for the rest of the world.

Copies of The Tao of Alibaba: Inside the Chinese Digital Giant That Is Changing the World will be available for purchase and can be signed by the author.

This event is in partnership with the China Institute. All visitors must bring a photo ID when entering the China Institute’s building at 40 Rector Street, 2 Floor, and present proof of COVID vaccination. Masks are highly recommended when on-site at China Institute.

MOCA has been creating new digital content through multiple platforms, always free of charge—because history matters. We hope you’ll consider making a gift to become part of a continuing lifeline for MOCA. No amount is too little and we greatly appreciate your generosity. Your contribution helps sustain our beloved institution and supports the creation of new programming that will bring comfort and inspiration to more communities.


November 10, 2022
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

About Brian A. Wong

Brian A. Wong is a Chinese American entrepreneur and investor. He was the first American and only the fifty-second employee to join Alibaba Group, where he contributed to the company’s early globalization efforts and served as Jack Ma’s special assistant for international affairs. During his sixteen year tenure, Wong helped expand Alibaba’s business presence in the US, Europe, India and Asia, established the Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) division and was the founder and executive director of the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy. Wong remains an adviser to the AGI team and regularly teaches courses on China’s digital economy and the Tao of Alibaba management principles. Wong is also founder and chairman of RADII, a digital media company. Wong earned his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College, a master’s certificate from the Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)–Nanjing University Center for US and China Studies, and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015, is a China Fellow with Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and is a member of the Committee of 100. He is based in Shanghai, China.

About The Tao of Alibaba

In The Tao of Alibaba, Wong reveals the company’s unique culture, values and “tai chi” management principles—all influenced by Eastern culture and philosophy, and which involve finding balance and harmony even in circumstances filled with contradictions. By unpacking the key components of the Tao of Alibaba, Wong provides a road map for other leaders and entrepreneurs on how to incorporate these principles into their own operations. He also shows that the company’s secret sauce is about much more than a generic leadership and management philosophy. Since its founding, Alibaba has been guided by a North Star: enabling marginalized groups and communities. This began with Jack Ma’s original vision to provide economic opportunity to millions of underserved small and medium-sized Chinese businesses in need of help. That mission continues today, as Alibaba’s rapidly expanding platform helps to spread prosperity to overlooked regions and businesses in China and beyond.

In The Tao of Alibaba, Wong explores:

  • Alibaba’s origin story, how he stumbled into the company’s journey, and how they steadily transformed a simple, B2B e-commerce platform into a highly impactful digital ecosystem – comprised of e-commerce platforms (both B2B and B2C), finance and payment systems, messaging, cloud computing, and logistical support.
  • How Alibaba not only shaped the e-commerce industry, but also impacted an entire country, China, on its digital journey that began with few if any of the attributes most say are necessary for a typical successful start-up.
    The philosophy, management, and leadership practices that form the foundation of Alibaba’s success. This is the Tao of Alibaba: a consciously cultivated ethos and spirit that infuses all of the company’s strategies and management systems.
  • The three components of the Tao of Alibaba: tao or belief/faith (Mission, Vision, Values); li or principles (Strategy); and shu or tactics (Organization & People; Performance Management). These components are distilled into lessons and usable frameworks for entrepreneurs and business leaders.
  • Alibaba’s remarkable social impact—within China and across the developing world—and how the company has helped guide the transition to a more inclusive digital-first economy in emerging markets.

The Tao of Alibaba tells the story of one remarkable company and how any organization can use its guiding attributes to become better, more efficient, and more socially impactful.