While the official welcoming banquet for the World Economic Forum was taking place in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos on Jan 23, Alibaba founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma hosted a China culture-themed banquet. The guest list was impressive, consisting of more than 20 political and international organization leaders, such as Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde. There were also some well-known CEOs in the mix, including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, IKEA CEO Jesper Brodin, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Many of these A-listers have met and talked with Jack Ma on previous occasions, and some are even friends of his now.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 25, 2018
The banquet was called China Red, and Jack Ma wore a Chinese traditional suit with red cuffs, presiding over a dining hall spotted with red light. At one point he performed a magic trick, calling on Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, to pick a card:
At one point in the evening, three musicians of the Miao ethnic group performed traditional music to the guests, accompanied by a DJ. Later, a Manhattan School of Music student named Bei Bei performed on the classical wind instrument, the erhu, playing a mix of Western and Chinese music.
Judging by the photographs, Ma’s guests enjoyed the dinner very much. Later, during the three-day World Economic Forum, he was actively meeting with leaders from different countries, including Theresa May. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom held up Alibaba as an example in her keynote speech, which advocated for supporting the World Trade Organization and eliminating trade barriers.
In interviews during the Forum, Jack Ma shared insights from several topics, such as the impact of technology and artificial intelligence on society, the importance of hiring women in managerial positions, the future of globalization, and one thing he considers a key to success: the IQ of love. The World Economic Forum’s tweet following Ma’s keynote was among their most liked and most shared during the event:
— World Economic Forum (@wef) January 26, 2018
He performed much better than the tweet to a live stream of Donald Trump’s Forum-closing speech the other night, for what it’s worth.
Cover image: Sohu