Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of the Alibaba Group and the richest man in Asia, had a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump, who promised that the two are planning "some great things" for the United States.
"We had a great meeting," said Trump to reporters waiting at the lobby of the Trump Tower in New York, where the meeting was held on Monday.
Alibaba To Open Up 1 Million Jobs In The United States
In their meeting, Trump and Ma talked about the trade relations between the United States and China, particularly aspects involving small businesses. Ma promoted the Alibaba platform as a means for small businesses in the United States to be able to sell their products to China and Southeast Asia.
With the opening of such a trade channel, up to 1 million new jobs could be created in the United States in small businesses, said Alibaba. The group, however, did not make any commitment that it would be hiring new employees in the United States.
Ma confirmed to reporters that the focus is on small businesses, specifically in the agricultural sector in midwestern United States. He also mentioned wines, fruits, and garments as the possible products that could be put up for sale to Chinese customers.
The Size And Growth Of Alibaba
Similar to other online commerce platforms such as eBay and Etsy, Alibaba allows third-party sellers in China to push their businesses into the web. As of March 31, the company only has over 36,000 full-time employees, almost all of which are located in China.
However, due to the over 10 million active sellers on Alibaba as of 2015, the company believes that its online retail marketplace in China has led to the creation of more than 15 million jobs.
In comparison, Amazon had just over 230,000 employees as of the end of 2015, but similar to Alibaba, creates jobs through the platform's sellers, contractors, and support services. Walmart, which is looking to boost its online presence, has 2.3 million employees worldwide, 1.5 million of which are in the United States, as of the end of the fiscal year 2016.
The unbridled growth of Alibaba has been largely attributed to the vision of its founder Ma, who Trump described as a "great, great entrepreneur and one of the best in the world."
Jobs In The United States Under Trump
The details of Alibaba's plans on how the 1 million jobs will be created, however, remains to be vague, hinged on the idea that American businesses should open themselves up to selling their products and services through the Chinese online commerce portal.
Last month, Trump touted the creation of 8,000 new jobs in the United States, 5,000 of which will be at Sprint and the remaining 3,000 workers in the startup OneWeb, which received a $1.2 billion investment from Softbank, also the owner of Sprint. The news came after Masayoshi Son, Softbank CEO, promised Trump that he will be making a $50 billion investment in the United States.
Trump also previously offered Apple certain incentives to bring the manufacturing processes of its products into the United States, a move which would also lead to the creation of new jobs.