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[HONG KONG] Jack Ma's net worth surged US$2.8 billion overnight as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd forecast sales growth that topped every analyst's estimate, despite China's decelerating economy.
Mr Ma, 52, is now the richest person in Asia and 14th wealthiest in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth has climbed US$8.5 billion this year to US$41.8 billion.
The latest surge came after China's largest e-commerce company forecast 45 to 49 per cent revenue growth in the year ending March, demonstrating how investments beyond online shopping are paying off. Shares in Alibaba, where Mr Ma is chairman, rose 13 per cent to a record high.
Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd - which dominate online shopping and social media, respectively - have ventured deeper into new areas from cloud computing services to streaming music and video as the country's economy slows. Alibaba is capturing more digital advertising spending by incorporating social elements such as video in its shopping sites.
Alibaba is holding meetings with investors this week. Mr Ma is scheduled to appear Friday to discuss the company's initiatives.