• Gender stereotypes remain a challenge for women who seek to rise among the ranks of business owners.

Gender stereotypes remain a challenge for women who seek to rise among the ranks of business owners. (Photo : www.chinadaily.com.cn)

Jack Ma, chairman and founder of Alibaba Group, the world's largest e-commerce company, emphasized the larger role that Chinese women will play in China’s economy in the future, the China Daily reported.

The billionaire executive made this pronouncement during the two-day Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, on May20, Wednesday.

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The conference was attended by more than 800 women, including celebrities like Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post, and actress Jessica Alba.

"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," Jack Ma said as he noted that a growing number of women are starting online businesses.

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

The report added that 60 percent of women entrepreneurs are located in East China where the e-commerce industry is developing.

Most of the Chinese female entrepreneurs are engaged in the clothing industry, according to a survey by PayPal.

Among other topics, the conference discussed ways to encourage more women to pursue their personal and professional ambitions.

Some of the key speakers in the conference included well-known Chinese actress and director Vicky Zhao; Lucy Peng, chief people officer of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd; and Liu Qing, president of taxi-hailing company Didi Kuaidi Dache.

Zhao said that women should maintain their independent personality and life from their husbands, retain their charm, and pursue their dreams and ambitions.

On the other hand, Peng encouraged women to use their imaginative and creative traits and characteristics to excel in life.

Liu advised aspiring women entrepreneurs and outlined the important steps for a startup, including advice on how to handle pressure and inspiring workers and colleagues in business.