KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The inspiration to form Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba came from Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), says Jack Ma.
The Alibaba founder and executive chairman said that he read about MSC in a newspaper 20 years ago and found the idea inspiring.
"I thought, 'Wow, this is a genius idea. If Malaysia can do this, why can't China. Why can't I do this myself? So Malaysia inspired me to create Alibaba," he said during the launch of Alibaba Group's office in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (June 18).
Mr Ma, one of China's richest men with an estimated wealth of US$43.1 billion (S$58.1 billion), said that he witnessed how the MSC impacted people and watched it grow.
MSC was conceived by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his first tenure as Malaysia's Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003. The landmark national initiative launched in 1996 was to develop an area measuring about 15km by 40km into a multimedia hub, encompassing the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Putrajaya and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Earlier on Monday, Mr Ma met Dr Mahathir at the premier's office in Putrajaya.
"He (Dr Mahathir) is a legend. Ninety-three years old but he knows so much about technology. After talking to him, I should read more books," he said.
Dr Mahathir said on Twitter that he and Ma had a good exchange of ideas on a wide range of subjects.