• Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma is known as an advocate of women empowerment.

Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma is known as an advocate of women empowerment. (Photo : www.careeraddict.com)

During a forum in New York, Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma revealed that the "secret sauce" to the e-commerce giant's rapid growth are women.

Speaking at the Business and Philanthropy Leaders' Forum organized by U.N. Women, Ma shared that "35 percent of Alibaba's founders are women, 34 percent of the senior management of our company are women, and more than 52 percent of the employees are female."

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Ma also lauded the entrepreneurship capabilities of women, citing that the populace has the right skills to make business more human, engaging and part of a compelling way of living.

"I think women can do much better in entrepreneurship because of the technology. On Alibaba, we have more than 10 million people doing business, and 50 percent of them are women," he shared.

Ma also emphasized the need to make women help business figures, stating that "empowering women will empower our future."

The Alibaba chairman also recounted an anecdote when he was just starting in the tough industry.

"Twenty years ago, I started my business in Hangzhou and made homepages for companies in China. Few people knew about the Internet at that time, so it was very difficult. I convinced a hotel in my city to commission a homepage," Ma shared.

"Four months later, I received an email. There were three ladies who said that they were coming to Beijing for the World Conference on Women and they wanted to stay at that hotel. And I said, ladies, the hotel is 1,000 miles from Beijing. They said, 'We don't know that, and that's the only hotel they could find on the Internet.' Even when the meeting was over in Beijing, the ladies flew all the way to my city and stayed for two nights," he continued.

Ma also announced during the event that his firm was able to raise $20 million for U.N Women, which was used to foster gender equality.

The forum was co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Alibaba Group.