Rodrigo Cipriani Foresio – Alibaba Europe

Alibaba: gateway to China

If I were to compare Rodrigo Cipriani Foresi to a painting I would have no second thoughts: it would be to a Giacomo Balla. Speed, enterprise and an eye to the future are his personality traits and his experience demonstrates it.


Former CEO of MediaShopping, in 2001 Rodrigo Cipriani became Country Manager for the company DoubleClick, pioneer company in the world of online advertising, to the point that they were the first to sell the first Google keywords in Europe. In 2011 he became President of Cinecittà, right at the moment when tax benefits were allowing cinema to produce high quality films, thus enabling a relaunch of Italian filmmaking.

Today I meet Rodrigo in his new role of Country Manager for Italy, Spain and Greece for Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Founded by Jack Ma, the thirty-secondmost richest man in in the world, Alibaba is a huge marketplace, aimed at the Chinese market, with 434 million customers to date and with the prospect of reaching 2 billion customers in the next ten years.


What lies at the basis of the success of Alibaba?

The creation of a digital platform has enabled direct contact between manufacturers and retailers and the end customer, hence without entering into competition with traditional retail, but rather empowering the possibilities of the same. In the situation that one finds in China, where many people live in the countryside or in areas of urban sprawl where there are not that many shops, using the Internet for trade was a successful move. The success was boosted by the creation of a secure online payment system, AliPay.


What is your best-selling product online?

Despite what you might think, it is not a luxury goods item, but longlife milk.


The Alibaba Group not only means e-commerce, but also an e-mail system (AliMail), travel agency (AliTRip), data storage, (Alicloud) and also an Academy the brainchild of Jack Ma himself. What does it consist of?

Each year 102 talented students are chosen from all around the world, who are offered the possibility to live and work for a period of 15 months at Hangzhou in Alibaba’s headquarters.


You have had the opportunity of meeting and working with charismatic and successful figures like Silvio Berlusconi and Jack Ma. Could you tell me a characteristic that struck you in both of them?

The capacity to see what is just around the corner way ahead of others.


My ritual question: what is luxury for you?

Simplicity in all spheres and walks of life.


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