Porter Erisman is a former Vice-President at Alibaba Group (2000-08), China’s internet giant. He witnessed it grow from humble beginnings into the world’s largest e-commerce company.
Erisman first arrived in China in 1994 and, after a year studying Chinese, he fell into a six-month stint as host of China Through Foreigners’ Eyes, a travel programme on China Central Television.
After studying for an MBA in the United States from 1996-98, Erisman returned to China and worked at Ogilvy & Mather in Beijing, overseeing an internet marketing group as China’s internet began to take off. Lured by the excitement of joining an internet startup, he joined Alibaba.com in 2000, just as the company moved out of a small apartment.
From 2000-08, Erisman worked as a Vice-President at Alibaba.com and Alibaba Group, at various times leading the company’s international website operations, international marketing and corporate affairs. In 2002, he took a year off from Alibaba to travel around the world, during which time he spent two months riding a bicycle across China retracing the southern route of the Long March.
Erisman’s book, Alibaba’s World is an inside account of how Jack Ma, a schoolteacher with no business training, built Alibaba into the world’s largest e-commerce company with more sales than eBay and Amazon combined. Alibaba’s World was selected by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the Top Ten business book releases in 2015.
Erisman wrote, directed and produced “Crocodile in the Yangtze”, an independent documentary memoir film of the nearly 10 years spent at China’s Alibaba.com. The film presents a rare behind-the-scenes look at China’s Internet revolution and was awarded “Best Documentary” at the San Francisco United Film Festival.
Erisman received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Additional studies include courses at the Beijing Language University, the New York Film Academy, and the Culinary Institute of America.
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