Alibaba Creator Jack Ma said his ambitious pledge to create one million jobs from the US had been scuppered by the Transaction row between Beijing and Washington, Chinese state news reported Thursday.
The billionaire owner of China’s biggest internet shopping portal produced the headline-grabbing guarantee to Donald Trump last year, as Beijing courted the then-newly president.
However, Ma told official news agency Xinhua his vow had been made on the grounds of continued cooperation and trade expansion between the united states and China, and would currently be hard to fulfill.
“The present condition of events has destroyed the premise the promise was made on,” Ma said in an interview on Tuesday.
“There is not any way to fulfill the guarantee, but we will not stop our hard work to promote the wholesome development of China-US trade.”
Ma’s daring promise following his January 2017 assembly at Trump Tower was greeted with scepticism by analysts at the moment, who said the move was about good PR than substance.
One million jobs would be close to one percent of all jobs in the United States – significance that successfully delivering would make Alibaba among the country’s largest private employers.
Ma at April climbed down on his pledge, asserting 10 million jobs could be generated”if China and the US maintain good trade relations”.
But the dispute between the world’s top two economies has escalated since Trump took office, with a series of tit-for-tat tariffs levied on billions of dollars’ worth of products by both nations.
Last week Trump said he’d press forward with 10 percentage levies on $200 billion of imports – along with $50 billion already targeted – prompting Beijing to target an additional $60 billion of US products with five to 10% taxes.
Ma pointed to business opportunities in different regions such as Europe, South America, Russia and Africa,” Xinhua said.
They have many opportunities despite the trade frictions between China and the US,” Ma explained.
“Trade is not a weapon and cannot be used for wars,” he added. “Trade should be the propeller of calmness.”
Ma declared this month he would resign as head of the pioneering Chinese e-commerce giant next year, handing over to CEO and anointed successor Daniel Zhang.
He has expressed a desire to follow along with philanthropic footsteps of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
“I am just 54, and that I still have at least 16 years to do something fresh,” Ma told Xinhua. “It’s exciting to have over a dozen years to have a new career.”