Alibaba's Jack Ma says US-China trade friction could last 20 years

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman Jack Ma has sent out a grave warning regarding the trade war between the U.S. and China. Getty Images file

At a meeting at Trump Tower, Ma promised Trump he would work to create one million USA jobs, helping American businesses tap into China's growing market for consumer goods.

"This promise was on the basis of friendly China-US cooperation and reasonable bilateral trade relations, but the current situation has already destroyed that basis", Ma said.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma told the Wolrd Economic Forum in Tianjin on Thursday that people should "mentally prepare" for 20 years of US-China trade wars. Ma originally said he would leave the position last week, and then seemingly contradicted on-the-record statements to the New York Times a few days later.

On Monday, Trump announced that the U.S. 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.

Trade relations have since deteriorated between China and the United States in a tit-for-tat escalation in tariffs.

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The Chinese firm said at an event in Hangzhou on Wednesday that the new subsidiary would make customised AI chips and embedded processors to support the firm's push into fast-growing cloud and internet of things (IoT) businesses. "There is no way to deliver the promise". He predicted that Chinese businesses would move production to other countries in the medium-term to get around the tariffs.

Instead of helping American small businesses reach Chinese consumers, one of the richest men in China said Alibaba will seek business opportunities elsewhere, mainly in Russia, Europe, South America, and Africa.

But the trade dispute between the world´s top two economies has swiftly escalated since Trump took office, with a series of tit-for-tat tariffs brought on billions of dollars´ worth of goods by both countries.

He added US tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products could prompt the country to export elsewhere.

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