Alibaba´s Ma says 1m USA jobs pledge thwarted by trade row

Joanna Estrada
September 20, 2018

HONG KONG: Alibaba founder Jack Ma said his ambitious pledge to create one million jobs in the U.S. had been scuppered by the trade row between Beijing and Washington, Chinese state news reported Thursday.

"This commitment is based on friendly China-US cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade", Ma told Xinhua. Ma referred to this continuing trade debacle in a call on Tuesday with investors as a "mess".

In April, Mr Ma doubled down on his pledge, claiming 10 million jobs could be created "if China and the USA maintain good trade relations". With all this fuss about the trade relations between the U.S. and China, this is bound to be just beginning.

China responded a day later with tariffs on about $60 billion worth of USA goods as previously planned, but reduced the level of tariffs that it will collect on the products.

Instead of helping American small businesses reach Chinese consumers, one of the richest men in China said Alibaba will seek business opportunities elsewhere, mainly in Russia, Europe, South America, and Africa.

He made the comments at the company's investor day conference in Hangzhou on Monday, just a few hours before the Donald Trump administration slapped 10% tariffs on Chinese goods amounting to United States dollars 200 billion, CNNMoney reported.

"There are still many things that Chinese companies should and can do".

Just hours after the Trump administration slapped a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, Ma said the US-China trade war will last not for 20 months or 20 days, but "maybe 20 years". "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

Ma, who recently announced that he will be stepping down as Alibaba's chairman within a year, also told Xinhua that despite the current fiction, he will "not stop working hard to contribute to the healthy development of China-US trade".

"Alibaba will last 102 years, and no one can be a 102-year CEO", Ma said, according to Chinese financial blog Sina.

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

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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