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Women take centre stage at Alibaba event

Women are the “secret sauce” behind the rapid growth of Alibaba.

That’s what Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma told 1,500 participants at the e-commerce giant’s second Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship held in Hangzhou, China, yesterday.

“Eighteen years since we founded Alibaba, it has consistently been female coworkers that pushed me forward,” Ma said.

“Our mission is to enable every individual to realise their dreams regardless if they are men or women.”

The objective of the two-day conference, themed around “Altruism, Inclusiveness, and Dreams”, is to discuss how women can develop and grow in the SHE·ERA, a concept based on the positive impacts women can create in the world.

After an opening speech by video from The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, delivered a keynote speech on woman’s transformative force.

Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, delivered an address, and fashion designer Vera Wang shared her thoughts on women and reinvention.

More than 30 successful women business leaders and influencers also shared their experience and know-how on topics ranging from women and entrepreneurship around the world, to closing the economic inequality gap across the world of business, design and education.

On the second day of the conference, four breakout sessions will explore the themes SHE Loves, SHE Thinks, SHE Envisions and SHE Future, and distinguished women speakers will share insights, experiences and hopes.

Alibaba held its inaugural Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in 2015 to spotlight the impact women have in the world and foster discussions on the growth of women and entrepreneurship.

Of Alibaba’s 50,000-plus employees, 47 per cent are women. One third of its founders are women, and one third of its management executives are women.

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