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Jack MA Yun




Jack MA Yun

Doctor of Social Sciences
honoris causa

To view the video of Dr Jack Ma's speech, please visit:

Distinguished and honourable Chancellor, distinguished Pro-Chancellor, Members and Chairman of the Council, Acting President and Vice-Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, friends, students and alumni,

Good afternoon, I'm extremely honoured and moved and touched by this great marvellous traditional ceremony, and thank you very much, Hong Kong University [the University of Hong Kong], for giving me this great trust and honour.

You know I've been trying to enter university for many times and I failed three times until I went to university. I never thought in my dreams to become a PhD of Honour. But I did work very hard, I just failed examinations again and again. And my story tells that those people that work very hard but failed again and again: don't give up. Someday, a great university like Hong Kong University is waiting for you.

And Professor Tang and Dr David Mong, I'm very honoured to be with you, and thank you very much for this opportunity to speak on behalf of you.

And I would also love to thank Professor Charles [Schencking], for these great words for me and for our people. And I think, when I was listening there, I was not that good, and I think I got this honour, not because I'm qualified - I will work hard to prove I will be qualified, one day.

And this PhD degree, I don't think it's just an acknowledgement of me, but it's a recognition of entrepreneurship, of the spirit ‘never give up'.

I think entrepreneurs are the scientists in the social science. Scientists and social scientists, we have a lot of similarities. We all take risks. We all want innovation. And scientists know how to do things properly, and business people know how to do things effectively and efficiently.

For most people, seeing is believing. People like us, we believe, and then we will see. When we start our business, we don't have money, we don't have resources, we don't have anything. The only thing we have is that we believe in the future, we have dreams. We make hundreds of thousands of mistakes. There is only one thing that we did not make the mistake - that is, never give up.

And business people talk about money. But I think a real businessperson, a real entrepreneur, not only knows how to make money, but how to spend money. And we do not live for money, we do not work for money. When you have one million, that is your money. When you have ten million, maybe, the problem comes. When you have a hundred million dollars, I think that is not your money. That's the trust the society gives to you. That they believe that you can spend the money better, you can use the money better. So a real businessperson is not making money by making use of the mistakes, makes use of the problems, social problems. A real businessperson makes the money by solving the social problems for the others.

There are so many great cities in the world, but Hong Kong is one of the best cities that I've ever seen. And this is the city I've been here more than (just the second after Hangzhou) my hometown. And of all the great advantages Hong Kong has, there are three attractions that really attracted me. The inclusiveness, the innovation, and young people.

I love Hong Kong because of Hong Kong's inclusiveness, because the open spirit, it's the open trade, open culture, open policy that has made Hong Kong today. There is no such city, like Hong Kong, in the world. Such a small place, with so many different languages, different colours, there are so many different things, and there are so many similarities.

Today, young people say, people say, Hong Kong has a lot of problems. Any city has its problems. People say Hong Kong young people have problems. Any young people has problems. The way is how to solve the problems, how to face the problems, how to challenge these problems.

And I have confidence in Hong Kong, Hong Kong will solve these problems. I love Hong Kong young people. When I was young, we saw a lot of Hong Kong movies, and dreamed that one day, I will be in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is so great, I never thought that I could visit Hong Kong, it was just a dream when I was a child. And I never thought about that one day I could study in Hong Kong. Today when I see on the campus there are so many young people here studying, I envy them, I respect them, and I hope they will be great. And I wish today was not a doctorate of honour, it's like the day I got the letter of acceptance of my university, that I could start my new career.

So because of the inclusiveness, that make we have so many great young people in Hong Kong. Hong Kong embraced innovation, Hong Kong has the best conditioning environment for innovation. Today, people in Hong Kong talking about, a lot about, Hong Kong will be the scientific, the new scientific hub of this Asia, of this area. Because we have the Mainland China, such a huge market. Hong Kong has great people and money. And Hong Kong, I think, does not only belong to Hong Kong, Hong Kong does not only belong to China, it belongs to the world, it belongs to this century.

So I think Hong Kong might, my talking to a lot of young people, that Hong Kong people should not only look at Hong Kong. Hong Kong young people's eyes should look around the world, we should look at the other people's problems, not only our problems, we should solve the other people's problems too.

There are a lot of experts today, but there is no expert for the future. All the experts are yesterday's experts. Only by working hard, we can be the experts, someday. So I think Hong Kong's innovations should solve the problem for the future.

Hong Kong will succeed, but the world is changing rapidly. Hong Kong used to be the hub for trade, but today the trade world, because of technology, is changing a lot. The future of trade is not about the B2C, is about the C2B. The future of trade is not about the containers, about the packages. The future world trade is not about made in China, made in America, made in the internet. So we have to change. Only by changing, Hong Kong could be the new hub of trade of the world. Hong Kong is also a great centre for financing, but today we are talking about fintech and techfin, Hong Kong should be the pioneer, a leader of fintech and techfin.

So, in the past half year, in the past six months, I met the Chancellor almost five times. Every time, we discussed young people, we talked about science, we talked about innovation, we talked about the future of Hong Kong. I think the next thirty years, the world is going to change a lot. The new technology is going to change every aspect of the world. If we do not want to make this technology revolution to become a social revolution, we have to change from now.

Among all the challenges, I think the most challenging thing is about education. Even if today, the best university of the world, will face the same challenges, because everything we teach our kids are the things that the past two hundred years, the things we taught them, the machine will do better. So we have to think about what are the best ways, what are the contents to teach our kids in the future. We have to teach the kids the way the machines will never be able to win, this is my belief, because machines only have the chips, humans have the heart.

So I think we have to change from now on, the education system. In the future, it's not about the competition of knowledge, it's the competition of creativity, it's the competition of imagination, it's a competition of learning, it's a competition of independent thinking. If you think like a machine, the problem will come. In the past twenty years, we make people like the machine, in the next twenty years, machine will look like people. So in the future, it's not knowledge driven, it's the wisdom driven, it's the experience driven. So in the past, it's the manufacturing driven, and in the future it's the creativity driven.

So this is what we think the world should be focusing on. Not only the IQ, EQ, but also focus on LQ, the Q of love. Because only when you care the others, only you care the others that succeed, are more successful than you are, you have the chance. So in my heart, Hong Kong is the city that in all China is the closest to the world, and I believe tomorrow Hong Kong will be the city the closest to the future. And I believe Hong Kong, I believe the young people in Hong Kong, I believe the future of Hong Kong, and I believe Hong Kong University.

Thank you so much, and it's my honour to be part of the Hong Kong University.

Thank you.

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