Billionaire Jack Ma sent a serious warning about the trade war between the US and China: it is going to take longer and has a greater impact than most people think.
China's richest man said the dispute could last 20 years and continue after the presidency of Donald Trump, because the two strongest economic powers in the world are fighting for global supremacy. China needs to strengthen its economy to cope with the conflict and shift US trade relations to regions like Southeast Asia and Africa, said the chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. during a speech at the company's investor day conference in Hangzhou.
This thing will last a long time. If you are looking for a solution in the short term, there is no solution
"Short-term, business communities in China, the US, Europe will all get into trouble," said Ma, while on a podium in an open white shirt and underlined his remarks with powerful jabs. "This thing will last a long time, if you are looking for a solution in the short term, there is no solution."
His remarks came a few hours after China promised to take revenge on US plans to raise tariffs on about US $ 200 billion in Chinese goods. Ma said that Alibaba will also be affected by the increasing tensions, given that the wholesaler allows American merchants to purchase products from China. But he also said that the trauma offers unprecedented opportunities for companies that can benefit from this.
"We should not focus on the earnings of this quarter or next quarter or next year, which is a huge opportunity," he said. "If Alibaba can not persevere and grow, no company can grow in China, I am 100% confident."
Ma's remarks are particularly serious because he is an icon of Chinese innovation and has been seen as an ambassador in the United States. Last year he met Trump and promised to create 1 million jobs in the United States until 2021.
But Ma, a week after he announced plans to hand over the chairman role to Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang, he undoubtedly left his support for his own country on Tuesday. If the US insists on raising tariffs on Chinese goods, China must shift its business to the rest of the world, he said.
"If problems arise, you learn to hide, learn to train," he said. "I believe Daniel and his team will have the wisdom to fight for the future."
Ma & # 39; s speech underlined the emptiness he will leave when he stops within a year. His monologue was accentuated by remarks about everything from geopolitical gambits to the importance of self-awareness on individual limits.
He even joked at the founder of competitor JD.com Inc., Richard Liu, refuting the idea that he was expelled from the company. Ma said he received a lot of questions from acquaintances, including questions about whether he had a "Minnesota" situation, a reference to the current accusations of rape that JD Liu is facing. That caused a burst of laughter from the crowd.
Ma said he was confident that he would leave the company in the hands of Zhang, because the CEO strengthens Alibaba's ambitions in the field of e-commerce, so-called new retail and entertainment. These initiatives will support sales growth for the financial year ending March of 60 percent, a figure that Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu first announced in May. That kind of growth will probably help Alibaba to exceed its global competitors, she added.
With $ 80 billion of strategic investments planted, Vice President Joe Tsai said the company is far from ready with deals. Some of Alibaba's most expensive investments have been set by Zhang – including at least $ 8 billion in deals for traditional chains that support efforts to reinvent retail in China.