"If I talk to you like this 10 years ago, 20 years ago, I would be scared," he told Sawyer. "Twenty years ago, I would probably end up in a prison. Now we can talk. I know the things I talk will be broadcasted. I don't worry about it."
Then there are questions about the the type of change that makes some American uncomfortable. In the race to be the globe's leading superpower, many wonder whether the United States can remain in the lead.
President Obama alluded to those fears in remarks over the weekend.
"America doesn't play for second place. The future we're fighting for isn't as the world's largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world's largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world," the president said.
Ma said he believes that the United States will still be the world's top economy in 10 years, but he believes that things could change by mid-century. One thing he's sure of though, is that American ideals have enduring power.
"Don't lose the American dreams. This is the dream that motivated us. Most of the world," Ma said. "Always think about the mission, and the mission drives you."