Chinese businessman proposes a million new US jobs mostly in the Midwest
President-elect Donald Trump said he had a "great meeting" with Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma on Monday, when they discussed 1 million new U.S. jobs.It is not clear that there will be a market for the products from the US. There is also the issue of the delivery costs of goods from the US to Asia that might effect competitive pricing. But it does appear that Trump has gotten his message across to China.
Ma said that Alibaba's expansion would focus on products like garments, wine and fruits, with a special focus on trade between the American midwest and southeast Asia.
"We're focused on small business," Ma told reporters. "We specifically talked about ... supporting 1 million small businesses, especially in the Midwest of America. Small businesses on the platform selling products — agriculture products and America services — to China and Asia, because we're pretty big in Asia."
Where those jobs would come from is unclear. While an Alibaba spokesperson told CNBC before the meeting that the Chinese online retail giant company would create 1 million jobs over five years, Ma's comments focused on supporting small businesses.
"Alibaba will create 1 million U.S. jobs by enabling 1 million American small businesses and farmers to sell American goods to China and Asian consumers on the Alibaba platform," the company said in a statement.
Like Etsy or eBay, Alibaba enables third-party sellers in China to take their own businesses to the web. The company only had 36,446 full-time employees, almost all in China, as of March 31, according to SEC filings. But with more than 10 million active sellers as of 2015, Alibaba estimates its China retail marketplaces "contributed to the creation of over 15 million job opportunities."
Amazon, by comparison, had about 230,800 employees as of the end of 2015, though it, too, creates other jobs through its sellers, contractors and supporting services. Wal-Mart, which is strengthening its online presence, employs 2.3 million associates around the world, including 1.5 million in the U.S., as of the end of fiscal 2016.