Odd Couple: Alibaba Invites eBay for a Talk

Alibaba Group Chairman Jack Ma’s invitation to Kobe Bryant to be a guest speaker last year at the company’s annual summit of entrepreneurs surprised some people, the NBA star not being well known for his expertise on e-commerce.

Ma asked Bryant to talk about his experience as a leader for the Los Angeles Lakers, which delighted the screaming fans at the event, but did little to clarify the parallels between playing professional basketball and running businesses in China.

This year Alibaba is hosting a guest speaker at the annual summit whose Internet industry credentials are clear—but who maybe even more of a surprise: John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay. This year’s summit, which takes place in September, will also feature California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a keynote speaker.

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