The Rise of Alibaba and Prospects for Technological Innovation in China

October 21, 2019

As part two of a “China in the Global Economy” miniseries, the Center for Global Commerce at McIntire presented “The Rise of Alibaba and Prospects for Technological Innovation in China,” featuring Duncan Clark and Professor Syaru Shirley Lin.

Duncan ( is a recognized expert on the Internet and innovation in China, where he has lived and worked for more than 25 years. Duncan is Chairman of advisory firm BDA China (, which he founded in 1994 after working as an Investment Banker with Morgan Stanley. BDA employs over 120 mainland Chinese professionals in Beijing. An early adviser to leading China internet entrepreneurs, Duncan is author of Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, the definitive work on China’s e-commerce and technology giant, its founder Jack Ma, and the forces and people that propelled its rise. The Economist named it as a book of the year, and it was shortlisted as The Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year. Duncan is also an early-stage investor in a number of tech ventures, including AppAnnie, Radish Fiction, and Cambridge Machines.

Shirley ( teaches at both the University of Virginia and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her book, Taiwan’s China Dilemma, was published by Stanford in 2016 and in Chinese in 2019. She is now researching five East Asian economies caught in the high-income trap. Previously a Partner at Goldman Sachs, she spearheaded the firm’s investments in technology startups, including Alibaba and SMIC. She also specializes in the privatization of state-owned enterprises in China and Singapore. She currently serves on the boards of Goldman Sachs Asia Bank, Langham Hospitality Investments, and Mercuries Life Insurance. She is a Director of the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville and was appointed by the Hong Kong government as a member of the Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation. After Harvard and Goldman Sachs, she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Global Commerce at McIntire, the UVA East Asia Center, and Virginia Venture Fund.