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Less than two weeks after Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma announced his plans to retire, his company held its biggest event of the year, The Computing Conference, in Yunqi Town, Hangzhou.

During his speech at the investor day event, Ma emphasized the theme of this year’s event — “Empower Digital China” — when he evoked the U.S.-China Trade War. He suggested Chinese manufacturers could survive the mêlée by boosting innovation, and he urged the industry to follow the example of Chinese retail.

Ma said, “We only protect the future. We only protect the hope. We only protect the new ideas.”

All week, Alibaba made sure their new ideas were on full display — most notably, the company’s smart logistics network, Cainiao; their new retail flagships, Hema supermarket and BingoBox; and their partnership with the city of Hangzhou, City Brain 2.0.

For more on Alibaba’s future plans, check out our video recap.

Cassidy McDonald is a Beijing-based multimedia journalist who covers technology's effect on Chinese society. She tweets at @CMcD123.

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