The internet is the electricity of the 21st Century: Jack Ma

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Jack Ma speaking at the UN in Geneva. Photo: Daniel Johnson

The internet is as important as electricity and everyone should have access to it, the head of one of the world's biggest online companies said on Tuesday.

Jack Ma, who made those comments, is the founder of digital commerce group Alibaba.

He's also Special Advisor to UN trade agency UNCTAD, which is currently hosting e-Commerce Week in Geneva.

Daniel  Johnson has more.

For Jack Ma, the internet is to the 21st century what electricity was to the 20th: revolutionary.

Speaking to journalists at the UN in Geneva, the Alibaba founder explained that without online access, development everywhere risks being held back:

"(The) internet should be treated equally as important as electricity of the last century. And everything will be online and everything online will have data. And data will be the energy for the innovation."

Together with the UN trade agency UNCTAD, Jack Ma said that he saw his role as Special Advisor for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business as making sure that the internet was something everyone had access to.

It was this that would create jobs by opening up global trade links, he said, on the margins of UNTAD's eCommerce Week, which focuses on the emerging digital economy.

Asked about discussions that reportedly he has been having with President Donald Trump, to create a million jobs in the United States, Mr Ma replied that it was "not that difficult", if he could help small online businesses in the world’s biggest economy "sell things to China and Asia".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations.


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