Business / Industries

Ma backs female entrepreneurs

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-21 07:37

Ma backs female entrepreneurs

Chinese actress Vicky Zhao, right, speaks during the Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship held by Alibaba Group in Hangzhou city, east China's Zhejiang province, 20 May 2015. [Photo/IC] 

The rapid development of new technology and the widespread use of the Internet will help more Chinese women to become entrepreneurs, a conference packed with famous names was told on Wednesday.

However, they will face more difficulties than their male peers, such as the challenge of maintaining a good work-life balance and prejudice in the business world.

"In the future, China's economy will be mainly driven by the service industry. Women, who by nature are more considerate than their male counterparts, will definitely play a larger part," said Jack Ma, the billionaire executive chairman of Alibaba Group, the world's largest e-commerce company by business volume.

Ma was speaking at a two-day global conference on women and entrepreneurship in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, attended by more than 800 women.

They included Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, and actress Jessica Alba.

A growing number of women are taking advantage of the Internet to start businesses.

A report published by the China Development Research Foundation in March said 25 percent of Chinese entrepreneurs are female, a massive increase compared with 10 years ago.

Sixty percent of them are in East China, the powerhouse of the e-commerce industry.

Clothing is the most popular sector for Chinese female entrepreneurs, thanks in large part to the e-commerce boom, according to a survey by PayPal.

"We excel in imagination. We are thinking in pictures rather than in words," said Peng Lei, one of Ma's earliest partners and now one of the 50 most influential female entrepreneurs in Asia, according to Forbes.

"When I am talking about something, what first comes in my mind is its color and shape," said Peng. "This can help us develop better Internet products."

Ma Si contributed to this story.

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