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Alibaba bets on 'new retail' to stay fresh amid China slowdown

Ahead of earnings report, executives talk up connecting physical and online markets

HONG KONG -- Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding is putting more emphasis on linking offline retailers with online shoppers as it looks to sustain its growth amid the country's economic slowdown.

As Alibaba prepares to release October-December earnings on Wednesday, investors and analysts are looking for signs as to whether the group can withstand China's economic adjustment, which saw annual growth fall to 6.6% last year -- the slowest pace since 1990.

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