Alibaba Pulling Back on Million US Job Proposal Due to Trade War

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.

"The promise was made on the premise of friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations", Ma told Chinese newspaper Xinhua on Wednesday.

Reiterating the need to focus on long-term plans instead of short-term ones, Ma called the growing dispute a "huge opportunity" and said: "If Alibaba cannot sustain and grow, no company in China can grow". With all this fuss about the trade relations between the U.S. and China, this is bound to be just beginning.

Ma expressed his thoughts while speaking at the Alibaba investor conference in Hangzhou shortly after the Trump-led US administration announced impositions of duty tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and China announcing retaliatory measures on import of USA products.

In the Xinhua interview, Ma said Alibaba "will not stop promoting the healthy development of China-US trade".

One million jobs would be close to one percent of all jobs in the United States - meaning that successfully delivering on the pledge would make Alibaba one of the country´s largest private employers.

In April Ma doubled down on his pledge, claiming 10 million jobs could be created "if China and the United States maintain good trade relations".

On Monday, Trump announced that the USA would impose 10 per cent tariffs on an additional US$200 billion worth of Chinese products from September 24, with the tariff rate increasing to 25 per cent on January 1 next year unless China makes concessions. He said that trade is not a weapon and shouldn't be used for wars.

Analysts said the early withdrawal of Ma, the charismatic face of a company that has revolutionized how and what China's people consume, will challenge Alibaba to carry on Ma's vision amid rising competition. "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

Ma announced this month he would step down as head of the pioneering Chinese e-commerce giant in one year, handing over to CEO and anointed successor Daniel Zhang. The 54-year-old former teacher repeated his desire to pursue a new career, likely in the field of education.

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