From Koovapadam in Kochi to the global headquarters here at Hangzhou of the world’s biggest business-to-business (B2B) enterprise, Alibaba.com, is a long way. But it has taken the 24-year-old Mr Ansif Ashraf just five years to turn a small capital of Rs 2 lakh — all that he had saved in his job as a teenaged professional photographer — into a Rs 90 crore business encompassing rubber and polymer technology with a local presence in five countries. The engine that powered Mr Ashraf’s entrepreneurial success story was the Internet — ecommerce to be exact. Which is why Alibaba chose to honour him as one of the world’s Top Ten e-Business Champions of the Year at the Small and Medium Enterprise Summit of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
“I was working as a photographer when a friend mentioned that photo printers and cartridges were cheaper in China,” Mr Ashraf said, “I did an online search and discovered Alibaba.com, an e-commerce portal.” He decided to harness the site to start his own e-business, first as an importer of photo printers from China and later branching into the rubber and chemicals business.
Today, his Paradise Group of companies has offices in Kochi as well as in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Samanabad in Pakistan, and in addition to trading in rubber with Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand, he also manufactures carbon black in China in a joint venture
“e-Business is the promise of the future — Alibaba has transformed my life and work,” Mr Ashraf said soon after he was honoured at the summit. Indeed, the ongoing summit is a showcase for what a global gateway like Alibaba — which boasts 25 million China-based users and 5 million elsewhere — can do to handhold small enterprises as they e-nable themselves to reach a global clientele.
The Chinese Net player is something of an icon on its home ground, having swiftly overtaken biggies like e-bay, Amazon, Yahoo on its national turf. In fact, points out group CEO Jack Ma, the company is just behind Google as the biggest Internet company and is already the Net’s number one business player. “We see huge growth opportunity for SMEs in India,” adds David Wei, CEO of Alibaba.com, the global B2B operation. The company started its first non-China channel exclusively for India in October last and has quickly signed 400,000 members — like Mr Ashraf.
Within China, Alibaba also runs a highly successful business-to-customer (B2C) operation called Taobao as well as a payment gateway, Alipay, and a pay-by-use software service for SMEs, Alisoft.
Mr. Ansif Ashraf was speaker and moderator for several seminars where the subject was
e-Business and Foriegn Trade. I have focussed mainly the trade for China.
Below given are some details of his awards and seminar participation details.
1. Asia Pacific e-Business Champions of the Year 2008
Awarded by: Hong Kong General chamber of Commerce, University
of Hong Kong and Alibaba Group
2. Global Top 10 e-Business Champions of the Year 2008
Awarded by: SME Summit of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business
Advisory Council, CCPIT, Hangzhou Muncipal Government, Alibaba Group in
Association with Grameen Bank (Bangladesh) and Soft Bank (Japan)
Conference & discuss forum included with Jet Li (Kunfu Star), Brandon
Dupsy (E-Bay.com), Paul Greenberg (Dealsdirect.com), Kieran Magee (Melbourne IT)
and Frank Lee (Yahoo China)
Guest Speaker & Moderator:
1. Guest Speaker in Asia Pacific e-Business Awards Summit in Hong Kong with
Mr. Porter Erisman (Vice President, Corporate Affairs) of Alibaba Group
2. Guest Speaker for Alibaba.com Sesame Event in New Delhi
Organised by: Alibaba Group, Network 18 & Infomedia
3. Moderator & speaker for International Press Conference on e-Business and
online B2B platform for Alibaba Group in New Delhi with Mr. Arthur Chang
(Vice President, Global Sales) of Alibaba.com
4. Actor & brand ambassador for Alibaba.com Television Commercial for CNBC TV
which was aired in CNBC (India) for more than 6 months. You can see the
video at YouTube
To contact him:
Ansif Ashraf - Founder & CEO
Paradise Group, India
G-3, National Residency
Shopping Complex, Bank
Jn, Edapally, Cochin-24.
Kerala State, India.
Tel.: +91 484 4043698
Mob: +91 9656220698