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Alibaba Plans Star-Studded Women Entrepreneurship Conference

The two-day conference features prominent Chinese female executives as well as American entrepreneurs Arianna Huffington and Jessica Alba.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

As the conversation around women in technology takes hold in the West, Alibaba is grabbing the reins of the dialogue in the East. The Chinese e-commerce company, which counts six women among its 18 founders, is hosting a two-day conference and workshop this week starring its own female executives as well as American entrepreneurs Arianna Huffington and Jessica Alba.

The two-day, invitation-only Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship is taking place on May 20 and 21 at the Dragon Hotel in Hangzhou, China. It is expected to attract 500 attendees from across China’s business, fashion, technology and media industries and will feature talks by prominent Chinese females executives including Alibaba CFO Maggie Wu and co-founder Lucy Peng as well as Didi Dache president Liu Qing.

Alibaba corporate affairs executive Jennifer Kuperman said the timing for such an event feels right now that Alibaba is on the “global stage” following its historic IPO last year.

“Women have been such a core part of what makes us successful,” she said, noting both the internal impact as well as the external, considering that about 50 percent of sellers on its giant Taobao shopping site are women.

Alibaba says about 35 percent of its executives are women, which is a significantly higher ratio than that of American tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter. At the high end, Apple’s leadership ranks are 28 percent women, while Twitter’s are 21 percent, according to statistics the companies self-reported last year.

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