TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT  (they sold out early on Thursday Feb 19).  | Advance ticket holders only.  No door sales or walk-ins permitted.


Please join us for an intimate conversation with 1990 Institute Board Member, Brian Wong, Alibaba Vice President and early employee.

This CHINA NOW | Business event is the launch of a new 1990 Institute program series on U.S-China business and the globalization of business, technology, and finance.  

Feb23_BrianWong_event_image2_400The 1990 Institute presents:

Globalizing China’s Largest Internet Company

featuring BRIAN WONG, Alibaba Vice President, Office of the Chairman


Alibaba, often dubbed the Amazon and eBay of China, is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies and is best known for completing the world’s biggest initial public offering, having raised $25 billion in 2014.

In this special fireside chat with Alibaba Vice President Brian Wong – a 1990 Institute board member who works with Jack Ma in the Office of the Chairman, he will share his firsthand experiences inside Alibaba and its early globalization efforts – with the lens of being one of the early Americans in the company.

A Palo Alto, California native who moved to Hangzhou in 1999 during the early dot-com days, Brian has spent nearly decade at Alibaba, helping it grow from a small apartment startup to a behemoth with billions in revenues. He has held a myriad of Alibaba roles, from Chief Web Producer to head of International Marketing, Senior Director of Strategic Business Development, VP of Global Sales, and VP of Supplier Development. During that time, he established and managed numerous teams and business groups within China and beyond China’s borders — from India and the United States, to Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Brian will share anecdotes and discuss topics including:

• The hard lessons learned with Alibaba’s early global expansion efforts
• The journey of a Chinese company going public in the U.S.
• Shaping Alibaba’s unique company culture with talent recruited outside of China
• The challenges of working, living and assimilating in China as a foreigner
• Opportunities for young American professionals heading to mainland China


Katie Benner, Columnist, Bloomberg View

KatieBenner_speaker photo3
Katie Benner is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about technology, innovation and the cult and culture of Silicon Valley. She previously wrote a tech and finance column for The Information. She has also worked at Fortune Magazine, The and CNN Money. Previously, she was a freelance writer based in China covering culture, business and politics. Katie has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg West, Marketplace Radio and WNYC to discuss technology and Wall Street. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College and resides in San Francisco.


Brian Wong, Alibaba Group Vice President, Office of the Chairman

Brian_WongBrian Wong is a veteran internet executive with over 16+ years in global e-commerce and digital media.   During his time away from Alibaba, he was an angel investor in Greater China technology start-ups and also served as CEO of one of his portfolio companies,, an online network that connects celebrities and sponsors for creative collaborations.  Alive was recently acquired by Mig33, a leading social network in SE Asia.  Brian grew up in Palo Alto, California and attended Swarthmore College and The Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)-Nanjing University Center. He holds an MBA from Wharton and is a member of the Wharton Executive Alumni Board, the Hong Kong Forum, and AngelVest Group.  He is also a board member of the 1990 Institute.




  • Monday, February 23, 2015
  • 6:00pm – 6:30 pm  Registration
  • 6:30pm – 7:30 pm  Program

World Affairs Council Auditorium
312 Sutter Street, Suite 200

San Francisco, CA | map

Suggested Parking:  Sutter-Stockton Garage



  • $15 – 1990 Members & New Email Subscribers (sign up here)
  • $17 – World Affairs Council and Asia Society Members
  • $17 – Bay Area Council, California-Asia Business Council, and China SF Members
  • $20 – Non-Members
  • Advance tickets only. No Door Sales.





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1990 Institute LOGO_Solid 150The 1990 Institute is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to broaden understanding and build trust between the people of the United States and China through education, philanthropy and collaboration. Visit us at to join our mailing list and learn about more U.S – China events. Also check out our $30K Youth Voices on China video contest for students and teachers!