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The Big Story

After Jack: Alibaba searches for new growth in the post-Ma era

Challenge to Amazon and Microsoft in cloud services could bring conflict with Washington

KENJI KAWASE, Nikkei Asian Review chief business news correspondent and COCO LIU and CHENG TING-FANG, Nikkei staff writers | China

HONG KONG/TAIPEI/TOKYO -- It was during a two-month trip to Africa last year that Jack Ma Yun realized it was time to step down as the captain of Alibaba, the powerful Chinese technology company he had founded in his apartment nearly two decades earlier.

While Ma was off meeting African heads of state and pushing his $10 million fund to encourage entrepreneurs on the continent, the world's largest e-commerce company was humming along just fine without him.

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