Of China Bank Accounts, Ali Pay, and Electric Bicycles
This is it! I am finally starting the journey of understanding how one of the world’s largest digital economy conglomerate, Alibaba, functions to its core, and what makes them one of the most successful digital transformation companies in the history. As such, there has been many programs done by Alibaba Business School throughout the years to cultivate new and digital entrepreneurs for the future. One of such programs would be this, the Alibaba Netpreneur Program!
I was very lucky to be selected via MDEC to head on over to Alibaba’s Headquarters at Hangzhou for this opportunity. 10 days of intensive hands on training experience would begin! However before that, the fundamentals has to be taken care of 1st.
As we all know, China has evolved into a true cashless economy, where the power of using mobile apps for transactions are a daily norm as compared to the local scene in Malaysia where we are only encouraged to use services like these due to deals & discounts!
Upon receiving our Chinese Sim Cards, we were then redirected to the nearest bank to open up our very own Chinese bank account. I have heard many cases of other foreign business owners having difficulties in creating their accounts. However with the power + influence of Alibaba, our bank account process was a breeze! Filling up some forms was necessary, and after waiting for my turn, I managed to get my Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) account up and running. I did however expected a more “digital” way of doing it though haha!
Interesting Difference Noticed
China : Cash is reloaded into ATM’s via a backdoor room. 24 Hour ATM’s have individual metal automated doors for extra safety of their users! Many banks opened even on a Sunday and they work till late about 4-5pm.
Malaysia : Cash is reloaded right infront of many people with guard’s guns showing everywhere haha. The usual open styled ATM’s.
The presence of Ali Pay has been around Malaysia for quite some while, however their significance not so much. Their push through TNG partners have seen more fruitful tractions of late. As quoted in the Alibaba cloud website, “TNG Digital Sdn Bhd is a joint venture between Touch ‘n Go Sdn Bhd and Ant Financial Group.”
This will indeed be a strong strategic move and partnership as Ali Pay is indeed known to be the Touch N’ Go of Malaysia. Their highways have been fitted with Ali Pay which reminds me of how TNG too has monopolized our highways and gateway transactions.
With my new bank card activated, connecting to Ali Pay and registering an account was also very straight forward. Probably with how we have been doing it in Malaysia, the process was simple too. Putting in our phone number, codes, and bank card, and there we go! Now I can spend like a local!
I have been fascinated by electric powered vehicles for some time now, and my 1st encounter with an electric powered bicycle was somewhat frightening & exciting at the same time! You always get to read all of these in the news, but having personally trying it out is another story. The push, rush, and acceleration of the bicycles was indeed something thrilling!
Prices started with 2 Yuan per 30 minutes (RM1 per 30 minutes) and the traveling between 2-3KM wasn’t tiring at all.
What struck me as a strong moment in our ride was during the time our bicycles actually swooshed pass Alibaba’s most famous gigantic Tao Doll at their headquarters!
Using their mobile app Ali Pay to get on their Bicycles and passing by the company that built it all, how much of a complete ecosystem can you feel elsewhere?
Through all my trips to china, never once did any of my trips ceased to amaze me. Everything they do here, is always so advanced, so forward thinking, so efficient. It gives myself as an entrepreneur great pain that none of these activities I am experiencing now can be experienced by all my friends and loved ones back in Malaysia. Hopefully with this Alibaba Netpreneur Program, me and my fellow digital compatriots here can truly push Malaysia into a powerful digital economy, much further and beyond what was done just 6 months ago =)
Check out what happened during the other days in my trip!