Daily Management Review

Alibaba's Ma Promises to Bring One Million Jobs to U.S. after his Meeting with Trump


01/11/2017




Alibaba's Ma Promises to Bring One Million Jobs to U.S. after his Meeting with Trump
Alibaba laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant's new plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years as the company’s Executive Chairman Jack Ma met U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, an Alibaba spokesman said.
 
Company spokesman Bob Christie said in a phone call that as each company adds a position, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd expects the initiative to create one million U.S. jobs. While this is the first time Ma has discussed specific targets, Alibaba has previously campaigned to bring more small U.S. businesses onto the company's sites.
 
While Ma called Trump "smart" and "open-minded," the U.S. president-elect told reporters they had a "great meeting" and would do great things together as Trump and Ma emerged from their meeting at Trump Tower in New York together.
 
Alibaba’s Tmall online shopping platform offers virtual store fronts and payment portals to merchants and the discussions were conducted mainly on the issue of supporting business like farmers and small clothing makers, who could tap the Chinese market directly through Alibaba, Ma said.
 
Through incentives of offering to smoothen out Chinese sales, payment and shipping processes, the company has been coaxing the setting up of Tmall stores to sell to China's vast and growing middle class by foreign brands and has been aggressively courting them.
 
Blaming Beijing for U.S. job losses and vowing to impose 45 percent tariffs on Chinese imports, Trump often targeted China in the election campaign. On his first day in office,, he also promised to call China a currency manipulator.
 
Working closely on some of the country's core technology development goals including cloud infrastructure and big data, Alibaba has deep ties with the Chinese government.
 
"It's important, given the anti-China rhetoric that has been coming out, to innoculate the company and himself from that." said Duncan Clark, chairman of investment advisory firm BDA China and author of a book on Alibaba, of Ma's meeting with Trump.
 
"There's nothing to lose in talking about what they're trying to do here which is stimulate demand in China," said Clark.
 
An Alibaba spokeswoman said that on sitting on Alibaba's Tmall currently are about 7,000 U.S. brands including wholesaler Costco Wholesale Corp and apparel seller Levi's. she added that the companies combined made $15 billion in sales to Chinese consumers last year.
 
However there has been mixed success on Tmall for some foreign retailers. Luxury handbag maker Coach closed its flagship store on Tmall, the Wall Street Journal reported in September. The newspaper quoted a Coach spokeswoman as saying that they wanted to consolidate resources.
 
"It'll require a big effort," Clark said of Ma's prediction that the platform could help create one million U.S. jobs.
 
"There's no one who could prove or disprove how likely that's going to be," he said.
 
Whether issues about an ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into Alibaba's accounting practices were discussed in the meeting were not clear. Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton had worked on Alibaba's initial public offering and is Trump's top choice for the incoming head of the commission.
 
Over concerns that the company was not doing enough to stop counterfeiting on their sites, the  U.S Trade Representative last month returned the Chinese e-commerce giant to an infamous list of blacklisted online retailers.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)  






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