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Jack Ma beating China is hollow win for Alibaba

JACK Ma, 1; China, 0. That seems to be the score in the unusually public tussle between the Alibaba billionaire and Beijing. Rarely does a mainland magnate push back when the Communist Party questions its business practices and ethics, and certainly not in the glare of the global news media. But Mr Ma is standing his ground, and the government has dialled back its criticism of Alibaba selling fake goods on its e-commerce site.

This is not a sign that life is generally improving for private business in China, however. Alibaba is unique. Beijing loves a homegrown success story, and there's none better than Mr Ma's fabled rise from schoolteacher to Asia's richest man. Since pulling off history's...

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