What Alibaba Can Learn From Argentina

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Alibaba looks wonderful until you realize it is protected from Amazon in its home market of China.

Is Jack Ma up to the challenge of Jeff Bezos? 

Possibly. 

But we will really never know. 

How to properly manage the balance between protection and competition has been a challenge for governments for centuries. 
 
Leaders know the steps you take to build a modern, world-class economy matters - do you protect it with subsidies and limiting market access or do you challenge it with trade and open market access?

Time and again those nations that challenge their home companies to be competitive globally are they most prosperous and most successful. Germany, the United States, Britain, Japan, and Italy are all prime examples.

In the 1930s, Argentina ranked among the ten richest in the world, after the likes of Australia, Britain and the United States, but ahead of France, Germany, and Italy. With all the benefits of land, natural resources, and immigration, Argentina should have been able to maintain its position on this table and even possibly overtake the United States.
 
As it now stands, we know how this turned out for each country. 
 
One chose protectionism and the other selected competition. 

China and the leadership of Alibaba should consider Argentina to grasp that what looks good and sensible today may not last forever.

Marc A. Ross is an adjunct professor at George Washington University teaching a course on Globalization and American politics, the founder of Caracal Global and Brigadoon, and former communications director for the US-China Business Council. You can follow him on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.