China's Alibaba Scraps Plan to Create 1M US Jobs

Jack Ma

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

Ma had told Trump during a meeting in January 2017 that Alibaba, one of the world's largest and most valuable companies, planned to create a million jobs in the usa within five years by getting American small businesses to sell on its platforms.

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

Given China's counter-tariffs and the push for Chinese firms to find alternative, non-US sources for goods, the already optimistic pledge would be even more unlikely in the current environment.

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said on Tuesday that trade frictions between the United States and China could last for two decades and would be "a mess" for all parties involved, citing weak trade rules.

Alibaba is no exception and would suffer from the effects of the trade war, however the crisis would also present new opportunities for the company to capitalize, Ma said. Ma originally said he would leave the position last week, and then seemingly contradicted on-the-record statements to the New York Times a few days later.




"It can't be used for war, it should be used to bring about peace", he said.

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.

Mr Ma pointed to business opportunities in other regions such as Europe, South America, Russia and Africa, Xinhua said.

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

"I'm just 54, and I still have at least 16 years to do something new", Ma told Xinhua. Beijing hit back on Tuesday with levies on $60 billion of U.S. products.

Ma, the cofounder of Alibaba, announced in early September that he would step down from his role as chairman at the end of the year to focus on philanthropy.

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