Alibaba said Monday it would create one million jobs in the U.S. in five years by helping small businesses sell products to China, the world’s largest consumer market, and other markets in Asia.
The pledge from Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma came during a 40-minute New York meeting with U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Trump said, “we had a great meeting…and (he’s) a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world, and he loves this country, and he loves China.”
“Jack and I are going to do great things for small business,” Trump said, standing alongside the Alibaba founder in the lobby of Trump Tower. ”
Ma said the two shared “ideas about how we can improve trade.”
“We talked about supporting one million small businesses to sell on our platform to China and Asia, especially Southeast Asia, where we are pretty big,” Ma said.
See how Dave Robison of Chelan, Washington, delivers produce to Chinese consumers in days through Alibaba’s Tmall.com.
China should be attractive to small U.S. companies, due to the market’s size, rising consumption in the country and an increasing fondness for American products among China’s young and growing middle class of over 300 million consumers. Southeast Asia is also a burgeoning market. Alibaba operates various third-party marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers. The company already enables approximately 10 million merchants to sell to Chinese consumers, responsible for more than 30 million jobs in China alone.
Providing Chinese consumers with access to goods made outside of China has long been a key strategy for Alibaba and Ma. Last year, Ma said he envisions 40% of the company’s business will come from outside China in the next 10 years. In 20 years, he expects Alibaba to serve two billion consumers globally and support 10 million profitable businesses.
“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,” Ma wrote in a 2015 opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates trade with China already supports over 40 million jobs in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. has exported over $500 billion of goods to China in the past five years. A recent eMarketer report noted Chinese consumers are expected to spend more $150 billion on foreign goods by 2020.
Here is an infographic showing how U.S. businesses – large and small – sell to China’s large and growing middle class.
Downloadable Alibaba company fact sheet: