Chinese technology billionaire Jack Ma has rescinded his offer to create 1 million new jobs in the United States, saying it is no longer possible with the escalation of trade disputes between the world’s two biggest economies.
Jack Ma met U.S. President Donald Trump in January 2017 and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant’s plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.
“This commitment is based on friendly China-U.S. cooperation and the rational and objective premise of bilateral trade,” Ma told Xinhua on Wednesday. “The current situation has already destroyed the original premise. There is no way to deliver the promise.”
The 54-year-old Ma said in the interview that Alibaba “will not stop promoting the healthy development of China-U.S. trade.” But he told investors earlier this week that the trade disputes between the two countries could last for 20 years.
“It’s going to last long, it’s going to be a mess,” Ma said. “Trade is not a weapon and cannot be used for wars. Trade should be the propeller of peace.”
Instead, Ma said Alibaba would focus on business opportunities in Europe, South America, Russia and Africa.