Alibaba, the enormous Chinese e-commerce company, is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange this Friday.

But one of the most crucial time periods in the company’s history came in the early 2000s, when the still-new Alibaba battled out with the behemoth eBay to gain e-commerce dominance in China.

Porter Erisman, in his incredible documentary “Crocodile in the Yangtze,” captures the thrilling rise of the company through real footage and photos. Erisman worked there throughout its critical years (though he had left the company by the time he started making the documentary).

The entire film is entertaining, suspenseful, and more than worth a watch, but Erisman gave us permission to use scenes from his film to tell the story of Alibaba’s rise, as he saw it through his own eyes.

This quote, from founder Jack Ma, has become emblematic of the half-decade battle between eBay and Alibaba.

Before you can understand Alibaba’s rise to greatness, it’s important to understand a few things about Ma.

Every morning for nine years, a young Jack would go to a local hotel in his home of Hangzhou, China to befriend foreign tourists and learn English.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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