There will be no made in China, no made in America, no made in Peru in the future. It's going to be "made on the internet". So says Jack Ma, internet entrepreneur and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group.
In the future, every young person and small business will be able to buy globally, sell globally, pay globally, and travel globally. "This is the trend - no one can stop it," Ma said during a session on the future of e-Commerce at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.
According to the World Economic Forum, e-commerce sales worldwide touched an estimated $25.3 trillion in 2015 and are likely to have grown since.
The session discussed how e-commerce could give small businesses access to global markets that were once reserved for multinationals, although just 7 per cent of global e-commerce trade takes place across borders. It explored how new digital policies could break down barriers to international e-commerce and support the next generation of entrepreneurs to rise.
Therese Fernandez-Ruiz, president and founding partner, Rags2Riches, said there are barriers for small businesses, including logistics and payments.
Prime Minister of Peru, Mercedes Aráoz, shared what her country is doing to try to improve small business access to global markets – from global trade facilitation, to special postal deals for small businesses.
Ma said that even without a perfect logistics system, payments system, or blockchain, e-Commerce has grown remarkably. Alibaba would be the 21st largest economy in the world if it were a country. Imagine what will happen when those challenges are solved, he asked. Ma also said trade should not be used as a weapon, but as a solution to solve the problems.
"When you sanction a country, you sanction young people and small businesses," he said in an apparent reference to the US which this week imposed big tariffs on solar equipment and washing machines from China.
"They will be killed, just like when you bomb somewhere." World Trade Organisation Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said governments still have rules and regulations that apply to 20th century trade. "That's gone. That's going to disappear," he said.