Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding no longer plans to create 1 million jobs in the United States amid the intensified trade war between China and the USA, according to company co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma Yun.
Ma promised the recruitment drive during a meeting with Mr Trump in January 2017 but made a U-turn amid an ongoing trade war, a move that is certain to rattle President Donald Trump.
Previously, Ma promised a large expansion in the U.S. entirely contingent on trade relations remaining normalized.
"However, the previous basis for trade has been undermined", he said in an interview on Tuesday. With all this fuss about the trade relations between the United States and China, this is bound to be just beginning.
The vague promise wasn't based on Alibaba investing in the United States to build factories or fulfillment centers.
Trump on Monday imposed 10 per cent tariffs on about $200-billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about $267-billion more if China retaliated.
Instead of building factories, or establishing Alibaba operation centers in the U.S., the Chinese billionaire expressed hope that small American businesses can sell goods to consumers in China thereby creating more domestic jobs in the US.
But the trade dispute between the world's top two economies has swiftly escalated since Mr Trump took office, with a series of tit-for-tat tariffs brought on billions of dollars' worth of goods by both countries. He said that trade is not a weapon and shouldn't be used for wars.
If small businesses want to list on Alibaba, they would have to go to third-party service providers to do everything from translation, to dealing with legislation, logistics, and how to ship to Chinese consumers, which could end up being a big risk. He announced last week that he will step down from Alibaba in a year's time, handing over the reins to CEO Daniel Zhang.
Ma was profiled by Bloomberg earlier this month, and said he wanted to follow the playbook of the billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates after retirement. "It´s exciting to have more than a dozen years to take on a new career".