Now you see it … Alibaba’s Jack Ma rescinds promise to create 1 million U.S. jobs

September 21, 2018

Chinese technology tycoon Jack Ma is recanting on his pledge to create one million U.S. jobs—citing the trade war between the world’s two biggest economies as his rationale, according to a September 20 report by The Wall Street Journal.

The executive chairman of Alibaba has been reevaluating his professional goals recently, having announced earlier this month that he would step down from his leadership position at the e-commerce company he founded in 1999 and hand over the reins to current CEO Daniel Zhang within the next year. .

Ma made the pledge, the Journal said, when he met with then-President-elect Trump in January 2017—saying  that the China-U.S. relationship should be “more friendly,” and that the jobs would be created by supporting more sales by America’s  small businesses on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms.

In an interview with China’s state news agency Xinhua published on September 19, Ma said his commitment was contingent on good relations between the two nations.

“The current situation has already destroyed the original premise and there’s no way we could meet it,” he said, according to the Journal. “Trade is not a weapon. It can’t be used for war. It should be used as a tool to promote peace.”

In recent months, Mr. Ma has become increasingly critical of the Trump administration’s trade-related moves against China. When contacted by The Wall Street Journal, an Alibaba spokesperson declined to comment beyond Ma’s remarks to Xinhua.

Research contact: yoko.kubota@wsj.com

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