Rita Liu: Chief Commercial Officer at Mode & former CEO at Alipay (UK)

She spent just short of a decade honing her skills and rising through the ranks at Alipay, the Alibaba-backed fintech giant, before taking up the position as Chief Commercial Officer at the feisty fintech group Mode. This is our conversation with the inspirational Rita Liu, brought to you by Knightstone Capital.

Rita joined Alipay in 2010 and was initially responsible for driving partnerships with major Chinese banks. In 2011, she became one of the founding members of the Alipay International Business department and has since held senior roles in business development and partnerships in Asia, the U.S and Europe. From 2015 to 2017, Rita was based in London while serving as Head of EMEA(Europe, Middle East and Africa) for Alipay, overseeing the company’s overall business in the region, including business development, operations and marketing activities.

In early 2018, She was named Head of Canada, to build the firm’s business and strategy from scratch in Canada. She then returned to London to take up responsibility as a leading member in the newly signed Alipay – UEFA global partnership, driving the firm’s new venture into sports as a platform for globalization. She was also appointed as CEO of Alipay(UK) Limited, serving on the board of the company.

Rita made the switch to UK-based fintech group Mode in March 2020, a company with the goal of “transitioning the world to a truly digital financial system.” With Bitcoin and cryptocurrency becoming a staple in the portfolios of investors across the globe, the company is well-positioned as the first-of-its-kind financial app in the UK. Although their services cover much more than crypto, Rita Liu is driving the company forward and is already regarded as one of the most influential female leaders in Fintech. Download the Mode app today.

Here’s a breakdown of what we discussed in the interview:

  • Your personal journey has been a fascinating one. Before we get too much into your recent history in business, what was life like for you growing up and did you always have a drive to be in business? (1:09)
  • Could tell us about your history rising through the ranks at AliPay and then moving over to your current position at Mode? (1:59)
  • Both Mode and AliPay have disrupted the traditional way of working. On a personal level, would you say that you feel more drawn to disruptors over more established traditional companies? (4:22)
  • You’ve played a key part in growing both AliPay and Mode. Do any figures in your business life particularly stand out that you’ve learnt important lessons from? (5:01)
  • Do you think enough is being done to encourage women to grow and feature in leadership positions within tech? (6:08)
  • You started your position at Mode in March, which one of the most turbulent times in history with COVID-19 really affecting everyday life. How have you found the last year personally? (7:02)
  • Do you think you’ve changed your leadership style since moving to Mode and dealing with the pandemic? (8:15)
  • One of Mode’s keen focuses is on Bitcoin. The mainstream chatter of Bitcoin was high in 2018, it then simmered down but is being thrown into the spotlight again recently. In your opinion, are people who haven’t invested in cryptocurrency missing out on a big opportunity? (9:37)
  • BUSINESS LEADERS ANSWER THE INTERNET’S QUESTIONS – Why don’t we just print more money? (11:17)
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t ask about Jack Ma, of course, the founder of Alibaba. Have you met him? (13:06)

Catch up now with all of the Business Leader Conversations and Business Leader Insight interviews and be sure to check our events page for upcoming interviews and events.

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