Alibaba founder Jack Ma has urged firms to take a leaf from his book and "hire as many women as possible".
Ma (pictured) has repeatedly talked up the importance of gender balance in the workforce, revealing in 2015 that 47 per cent of the Chinese internet giant's overall staff - and 33 per cent of those in senior roles - are female.
Speaking at Alibaba's Gateway 2017 event in Detroit last week, the billionaire tech entrepreneur said women will be "very powerful" in the 21st century.
His comments came after Alibaba's international aspirations were given a shot in the arm when Gartner placed it in its Magic Quadrant for infrastructure-as-a-service for the first time.
Ma - the world's 33rd richest man according to Forbes - said hiring female talent had been one of the secrets of the Chinese e-commerce giant's success.
"Women are going to be very powerful in the 21st century," he said. "Because last century people compared about muscle [but] this century people compare about wisdom. Hire as many women possible. This is what we did, and this is the secret sauce."
Gartner noted in its latest Magic Quadrant that Alibaba Cloud - which Alibaba launched in 2009, initially as a provider of services to its e-commerce businesses - has a limited track record outside China. However, the analyst still listed it as one of just four IaaS "visionaries", flagging it as a potential competitor to market leader AWS.
In his latest comments, Ma also advised managers to hire staff who are smarter than they are.
"I give a lot of advice to my colleagues. Whey they hire people, there's one judge - look at the young man; if you think he will be [your] boss in five years, hire him," he said.
He also warned the current crop of tech market leaders against complacency.
"When Netscape was so good we never thought it would disappear," he said. "Yahoo was good; we never thought it would be like [it is] today. So don't believe you will be good all the time - be paranoid."
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