Alibaba's Ma says 1m US jobs pledge thwarted by trade row

Lloyd Doyle
September 20, 2018

The Alibaba (BABA) chief grabbed attention at the start of past year when he made the ambitious jobs pledge following a meeting with Donald Trump, who was president elect at the time.

"This commitment is based on friendly China-US cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade", Ma told Xinhua.

Tech tycoon Jack Ma has told investors to hunker down for a drawn out trade war between the United States and China that can last for up to 20 years. With all this fuss about the trade relations between the U.S. and China, this is bound to be just beginning.

Ma´s bold pledge following his January 2017 meeting at Trump Tower was greeted with scepticism by analysts at the time, who said the move was more about good PR than substance.

Ma's appearance on Tuesday was his first appearance in front of investors after announcing his plans to step down as Alibaba executive chairman on September 10, 2019.

One million jobs would be close to one percent of all jobs in the United States - meaning that successfully delivering on the pledge would make Alibaba one of the country´s largest private employers.

Ma was speaking at an Alibaba investor conference hours after Washington said it would impose duties on an extra Dollars 200 billion worth of Chinese imports, drawing a warning from Beijing that it would retaliate.

In April Ma doubled down on his pledge, claiming 10 million jobs could be created "if China and the U.S. maintain good trade relations".

Ma has already warned that the trade war between the world's two largest economies could last decades and that China should focus exports on the "Silk Road" trade route, citing Africa, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Instead of building factories, or establishing Alibaba operation centers in the USA, the Chinese billionaire expressed hope that small American businesses can sell goods to consumers in China thereby creating more domestic jobs in the US.

If small businesses want to list on Alibaba, they would have to go to third-party service providers to do everything from translation, to dealing with legislation, logistics, and how to ship to Chinese consumers, which could end up being a big risk.

"Trade is not a weapon and can not be used for wars", he added. "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

He has expressed a desire to follow in the philanthropic footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

"I'm just 54, and I still have at least 16 years to do something new", Mr Ma told Xinhua.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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