Alibaba discuss US jobs with Trump
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Alibaba discuss US jobs with Trump

It is hard to find a day over the last few months where President-elect Donald Trump has not been a prominent feature of print and broadcast news. Well, one meeting that seems to have gone fairly under the radar was one that The Donald had with Jack Ma, chairman of Chinese ecommerce giants, Alibaba.

It was all smiles, platitudes and thumbs-up as Trump and Ma met just over a week ago, despite the US government having recently put Alibaba on their list of ‘notorious markets’ for counterfeit goods. However, despite that moment of potential awkwardness, there was too much to talk about in terms of trade and jobs to get bogged down.

We have gotten used to throwaway statistics, policies and soundbites since the beginning of last year’s presidential campaign, but this one from Ma made everyone sit up and take notice. Ma stated that through Alibaba’s various ecommerce platforms more than one million American jobs would be supported or created.

For a couple of years now, Alibaba has been trying to bring more goods to the American market, having made previous similar statements long before Trump was on the political landscape, let alone President-elect.

Alibaba share price over the last year
As of 16 January 2017: 96.27

SOURCE: Google Finance

In a 2015 article outlining his business strategy, Ma said: “We want to help U.S entrepreneurs, small business owners, and brands and companies of all sizes sell their goods to the growing Chinese consumer class. Chinese consumers will get to buy the American products they want. This, in turn, will help create American jobs and increase U.S. exports.”

There is definitely room for the US trade presence on Alibaba to grow, but the country does already have 7,000 brands on there which traded $15 billion in goods in 2016.

To put the ‘one million jobs’ claim by Ma into context, Amazon as a whole had only 230,800 jobs throughout their business, however they do also create jobs through their third-party sellers, contractors and support services. 

Dominion holds Alibaba in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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