In our ongoing series “Small Shops, Big Dreams” about SME owners around the world and how they’ve overcome obstacles to build their businesses, we travel to the western Chinese city of Chengdu

Comic Book Ren

“My parents wanted me to find a ‘normal job’ in a company, working nine-to-five in an office, but I’ve always wanted to be my own boss,” says Ashley Miao, 33, who owns a comic store in Chengdu.

Flash back to 2015, four years after working as an employee for several companies including an e-commerce company and a youth hostel since she graduating from a university in Chengdu, Miao decided to make a leap of faith and start her own comic book store.

“It wasn’t something that came to my mind suddenly. I went through many sleepless nights, and my thoughts…


On a sunny day this March, Tian Lewei, a senior bank manager of a Chinese rural bank held a special open-air presentation for its clients, a group of farmers from Qianzhang Village in central Henan Province, 700 kilometers south of the capital Beijing.

Rural bank manager Tian Lewei speaks to his farming customers in Henan Province

The village, with a population of 1600, is readying for one of its busiest seasons of the year, as spring-planting begins and residents prepare their land for crops such as wheat, rice and corn. …


To welcome 2021 and inspire you to reinvent yourself, we invited seven women illustrators across Europe, to show us how they turned around their lives despite a very challenging past year.

The series, originally posted on our Instagram page, is part of our ongoing initiative to support small and independent women creators around the world by sharing their stories and showcasing their work on Alipay’s social media platforms.


Qingjian, a small town in Shaanxi Province approximately 800 kilometers from the Chinese capital Beijing , is one of China’s most impoverished towns. Residents mainly survive on farming, from which they earn RMB1,200 a month on average.

It is a place that seems far removed from China’s booming artificial intelligence industry. However, in recent years, residents have been able to participate in new training programs to develop new digital skills and start new AI-related careers in data labeling and curating thanks to the “A-Idol Initiative”.

Co-developed by Alipay Foundation, Alibaba AI Labs, and the China Women’s Development Foundation (CWDF), the…


When was the last time you paid for a meal in cash? How about the last time you flagged a cab down along the road? You probably don’t remember — that’s the beauty of digital life! In fact, if you’re reading this, you’re already living a digital lifestyle.

Being ‘digital’ means using #technology to achieve our goals, from simple everyday activities such as buying food, searching for information and completing work or study-related tasks. With just a touch on our mobile devices, digital technology enables us to live more connected, convenient lives.

To celebrate the digital lifestyle, we invited eight…


Jing Yuan: Trusple is an unexpected surprise for SME owners like me

Ms. Yuan Jing is an “old friend” of the Alibaba family. As early as 2010, she began doing all sorts of businesses onAlibaba’s e-commerce platform , before finally discovering her passion and source of focus — selling glass crystal ornaments.

The entrepreneur currently runs her own company named Hubei Jingcan Glass Products Co., Ltd, a small and medium-sized enterprise with about 10 employees. Ms. …


Carolina Solari was always mystified by Chinese culture and cuisine, and how food traditionally plays a big part in the country’s medical care.

That curiosity led her to write a Masters’ thesis titled “the Yin and Yang in Chinese food” while at university in Venice, and further to move to China in 2010 where the native of Padova spent the next few years in the food, luxury, and digital media industries before ending up as a business development manager for Alibaba Group’s Tmall.


CyberMulan is an initiative across the Alibaba digital economy focused on women’s empowerment, encompassing real, tangible support for women in tech, small and mid-size enterprise (SME) entrepreneurship, and more broadly, poverty alleviation.

For Ant Group, this means supporting female talent at all levels of our organization, while launching new inclusive initiatives for female SME entrepreneurs and poverty alleviation efforts through the Alipay Foundation.

Women at Alipay

A key part of our culture since day one is bringing equal opportunities to everyone. One-third of Alibaba’s original 18 founders are women, and to this day having female colleagues at all departments…


Quan Yu never quite expected to end up where she is. In the midst of obtaining her doctorate at Vanderbilt University, and potentially an academic career as an economist, a friend urged her to try out for a job at a major American bank.

One interview and that launched her lifetime career in risk management, ultimately landing her in her current role as Head of Risk Management at Ant Group, overseeing consumer and SME credit risk analytics and strategies for the owner and operator of Alipay.

Quan was named Forbes China Top 50 Women in Technology in 2020, an…


Dr. Ying Yan’s unassuming and friendly nature belies her expertise as a published researcher and developer of blockchain application.[1] As a leading engineer in the field, Ying is often asked by friends whether to invest in cryptocurrency.

She quickly dissuades them, saying “I think those coins are merely hyped-up bubbles.” However, she says, “the underlying technologies are valuable.”

It is her expertise in those underlying technologies that has propelled her to become leader of the Ant Technology Blockchain team. She currently serves as Senior Staff Engineer at Ant Blockchain and at the Alibaba Damo Academy, a think tank at…

Ant Group

Ant Group is a tech company dedicated to bringing inclusive finance to the world, through Alipay and its global partners.

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