China's Ma reverses US job plan due to trade war

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"However, the previous basis for trade has been undermined", he said in an interview on Tuesday.

Jack Ma, co-founder of Chinese e-tech giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said on Thursday that people should make preparations for 20 years of China-US trade frictions.

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

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"But we will continue to work hard to promote the healthy development of China-US trade".

One million jobs would be close to 1% of all jobs in the U.S. - meaning that successfully delivering would make Alibaba one of the country's largest private employers.

Ma said a lot of businesses in China and the USA will be in trouble in the short term, and eventually, Chinese firms will be forced to turn to other countries, CNN reported.

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.

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This week, Mr Trump said he would press ahead with 10 per cent levies on US$200 billion (S$273 billion) of imports - on top of US$50 billion already targeted - prompting Beijing to target another US$60 billion of U.S. goods with 5 to 10 per cent taxes.

He added USA tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese products could prompt the country to export elsewhere. He also acknowledged that the ongoing trade war with China's largest trade partner is hurting Alibaba's business, according to CNNMoney. "If China and the United States maintain good economic and trade relations, there will be no problem at all in providing the United States with 1 million jobs or even 10 million jobs", Ma said. "Trade should be the propeller of peace".

He announced last week that he will step down within a year and hand the company reins to chief executive 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. When commenting about his coming retirement, he said it's not a "sudden decision" and he has been prepared for it for more than 10 years.

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