President-elect Donald Trump met Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) on Monday and discussed how to create 1 million new US jobs. Ma advised Trump to focus on small businesses because this could be the engine of growth the United States needs. Ma went a step further and unveiled his plans to create these jobs for Americans.
Ma said he wants 1 million small American businesses to sell on the Alibaba platform to consumers in China over the next five years. Alibaba has said before they want more small American firms to sell on their site, but no specific target was mentioned before.
Alibaba’s Focus for the American Mid-West
The focus areas will be fruits, garments, and wine, and Alibaba will particularly target small businesses from the mid-west. Ma said, “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”.
Like eBay or Etsy, Alibaba allows third-party sellers to take their businesses on the internet and sell their products. As of March 2016, they had just 36,446 full-time employees, and almost all of these jobs are in China. However, since there are more than 10 million active sellers on the platform, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is estimated to have created 15 million job opportunities already. So creating 1 million new US jobs should be easy for them if the plan works.
By comparison, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has more than 230,000 employees. They too create jobs through contractors, sellers, and supporting services. Wal-Mart, on the other hand, has 2.3 million associates worldwide, including 1.5 million in the US.
Trump Thrilled With Ma
Donald Trump was visibly thrilled after his meeting with the Alibaba top boss. He said, “We had a great meeting, and 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 some great things”. Jack Ma also praised Trump, saying he was “smart and open-minded”.
The meeting was held at Trump Tower amid growing tensions between the United States and China. So there were apprehensions on what the two leaders will be able to achieve. SoftBank of Japan has already committed to creating 50,000 US jobs. SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son is on the Alibaba board.