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Alibaba's Tech-Hub Hometown Hosts the World's Leaders

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Oliver Dyer
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China is hosting world leaders at its first Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, an ancient capital that s also a global high-tech hub and bastion of entrepreneurship.Famed for centuries for its mild climate, abundant wealth and scenic landscape that includes West Lake, which is featured on the back of 1 yuan bills, the city of 8.7 million just south of Shanghai is a natural pick.

But more importantly for the leaders of a country on the verge of becoming the world's largest economy, it showcases the transformation to high-value growth driven by innovative private companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.Founder Jack Ma's $35 billion fortune makes him the country's richest person and the embodiment of the new economy.

The former teacher started Alibaba from his Hangzhou apartment in 1999 with $60,000 and led it to the biggest-ever initial public offering in 2014.

Now the $243 billion operator of Taobao, China's biggest shopping site, employs 36,000 and inspires followers: A third of China's shopping websites are based in the city, where online retail sales jumped 27.6 percent in the first half of the year from a year earlier.

Hangzhou also is home to China's first private automaker, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., which calls itself the world s largest video surveillance equipment supplier.

There's also a financial center, Yuhuang Shannan Fund Town, that aims to replicate the hedge fund hub of Greenwich, Connecticut.The city has been shown off before.

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