May 20, 2020

Alibaba just launched a graduate leadership programme

Brian Wong
Alibaba Vice President and Executive Director of AGLA
Jack Ma
Alibaba Executive Chairman
2 min
Alibaba just launched a graduate leadership programme

Alibaba Group has launched the Alibaba Global Leadership Academy (AGLA), a 10-year program to enhance its global workforce capabilities.

The inaugural class of 32 young professionals from 14 countries will spend one year at Alibaba’s HQ in Hangzhou where they will take part in experiential leadership training, cultural immersion, industry learning tours, and assignments in various units.

After one year in Hangzhou, the AGLA participants will return to work in the company’s offices outside China. Current office locations include the US, UK, Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. The company has plans to increase the class size to 102 participants annually.

"The world is more connected than ever before. People who can work across cultures and languages represent the future,” said Jack Ma, Alibaba Executive Chairman. “We know that for Alibaba to have a meaningful global impact, we have to be able to understand other cultures, respect other cultures and appreciate other cultures. The AGLA is one way we are building that trust and mutual understanding."

“Our new AGLA program will help us build a strong foundation for our future international footprint,” added Brian Wong, Alibaba Vice President and Executive Director of AGLA. “This program is designed to provide a grounding in the cultural and industry context of Alibaba to enable our future global leaders to effectively collaborate in China and across borders.

“At the same time, we intend to strengthen our headquarters’ global capabilities through the interactions and contributions of our AGLA participants in China. It is a reflection of our commitment to bringing closer the many cultures that make up the Alibaba family and strengthening the ability to operate all around the world.”

Aside from on-the-job training at Alibaba, students will be given a deep dive into the unique internet and ecommerce business climate rapidly developing in China. They will shop and pay for their purchases online. And they will also learn about China’s history, arts and trading prowess – experiencing the modern Belt and Road initiative of today’s government and visiting the ancient Silk Road of China’s storied past. Chinese language was not a requirement for selection and half the class has no Mandarin skills. 

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Jun 13, 2021

Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?

Kate Birch
3 min
From just US$45,000 capital in 2003 to a world-leading biopharma giant with revenues of US$1.69bn today, Seo JungJin is crowned EY World Entrepreneur 2021

Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.

Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.

JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.

Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.

Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?

A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.

The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.

According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.

Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.

“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”

How did JungJin get there?

JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.

And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.

With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.

“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”


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