Jack Ma tears up plans to make 1m American jobs

Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese retail giant Alibaba, is backing down on his promise to create 1 million jobs in the US over the next five years, amid the ongoing trade war between President Trump and China.

Ma had offered the company's e-commerce platform to help US businesses sell products to Asia, with the potential of creating up to 1 million American jobs, during a meeting with US President Donald Trump in New York City in January past year.

On Wednesday Ma told Xinhua, a Chinese news site, "The current situation has already destroyed the original premise".

Jack Ma, co-founder of the conglomerate, warned of 20 years of trade conflict as China and the United States prepared to extend their dispute.

Ma also said in the interview that he will keep making efforts to push for the healthy development of bilateral trade ties.

"Trade is not a weapon and can not be used for wars", he added, in an exclusive interview with Xinhua news agency. "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

"I don't want to die in the office, I'd rather die on the beach", Ma said on Thursday during an event at a World Economic Forum summit in the Chinese coastal city of Tianjin.

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"It's about competition between two countries", Ma said on Tuesday.

Alibaba's move to back down from its promise has come after a further escalation of the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Since then, Mr. Trump has introduced new tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese imports as he seeks more favorable trade terms.

Trade relations have since deteriorated between China and the U.S. in a tit-for-tat escalation in tariffs.

"China has been forced to take retaliatory measures, and they are entirely meant to protect China's own interests", commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly news briefing in Beijing. China promptly reacted, announcing new trade tariffs on $60 billion of USA goods.

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

  • Delia Davidson