China Trade Friction May Last 20 Years: Jack Ma

Jack Ma chairman of Alibaba Group Holding was introduced to the internet in 1995 thanks to a friend in Seattle

Jack Ma chairman of Alibaba Group Holding was introduced to the internet in 1995 thanks to a friend in Seattle

Chinese tech giant Alibaba will no longer bring the 1 million jobs it had promised to the USA because the hostile trade environment created by President Donald Trump and his ongoing tariff conflict with China has made such a plan impossible, the company's co-founder and chairman Jack Ma announced this week.

Ma met Trump two years ago and laid out Alibaba's plan to bring small USA businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers.

But Mr Ma told Xinhua that his pledge had been made on the basis of continued co-operation and trade growth between the United States and China, and would now be hard to fulfil.

"The current state of affairs has already destroyed the premise the promise was made on", Ma said in an interview on Tuesday. "The trade war will not last for just 20 days or 20 months, but maybe 20 years", Ma said.

The billionaire owner of China's largest online shopping portal made the headline-grabbing promise to Mr Donald Trump a year ago, as Beijing courted the then-newly elected president.

The Chinese firm said at an event in Hangzhou on Wednesday that the new subsidiary would make customised AI chips and embedded processors to support the firm's push into fast-growing cloud and internet of things (IoT) businesses.

He had also said trade tensions would likely impact Chinese and foreign companies immediately and negatively, while predicting that Chinese businesses may move production to other countries in the medium-term to get around tariffs.

One million jobs would be close to 1 per cent 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.

He said that trade is not a weapon and shouldn't be used for wars.

Chinese firms with factories in the United States would also face higher costs as they ship US -assembled products back home.

Last week, Ma announced he would be retiring from the executive chairman position of Alibaba within the next year, and has been planning on leaving for quite some time. On Monday, Trump announced a 10% tariff on another $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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