Alibaba's Ma says 30 percent of China retail sales online in 5 years

HONG KONG Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:28am EDT

Chairman and Chief Executive of Alibaba Group Jack Ma delivers a speech at the 8th Netrepreneur Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province September 10, 2011. REUTERS/Lang Lang

Chairman and Chief Executive of Alibaba Group Jack Ma delivers a speech at the 8th Netrepreneur Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province September 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Lang Lang

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Jack Ma, the chairman of China's largest e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, expects 30 percent of China's total retail sales to be conducted online in the next five years, Ma told a conference on Wednesday.

Ma, who founded Alibaba in 1999 and has since become one of China's best-known corporate names, said his forecast was based on "conservative" estimates. He said the next five years would be the "golden" period for e-commerce in China.

Ma was speaking at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong.

(The story has been refiled to show "golden" is a direct quote, not "golden period")

(Reporting by Lee Chyen Yee and Elzio Barreto; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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