Alibaba's Jack Ma says US-China trade friction could last 20 years

Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the WAIC in Shanghai China Sept

The US and China trade war could last 20 years, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said.

Ma expressed his thoughts while speaking at the Alibaba investor conference in Hangzhou shortly after the Trump-led USA administration announced impositions of duty tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and China announcing retaliatory measures on import of US products.

Zhang will be promoted to executive chairman on September 10 next year, while Ma remains a director on the board and a permanent member of the Alibaba Partnership, according to the plan unveiled on September 10 when Ma was also celebrating his 54th birthday.

Mr. Ma met with Mr. Trump a year ago in a high-profile meeting where he promised to create one million U.S.jobs linked to small merchants selling items on Alibaba platforms. He predicted that Chinese businesses would move production to other countries in the medium-term to get around the tariffs. This week, China's richest man, Jack Ma, warned investors that the trade war is "going to be a mess", predicting that it wouldn't last 20 days or 20 months, but "maybe 20 years".

Ma expressed need for "new trade rules" over the long-term.

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While admitting that the trade war had been damaging for Alibaba's $410 billion business, Ma pledged the company would ultimately come out on top. He acknowledged that the ongoing spat with China's largest trade partner was hurting Alibaba's business as well.

Ma said new trade rules were needed which includes an upgrade to the World Trade Organization. "I'm 100 percent confident in that".

Ma met with Trump previous year and promised to create one million U.S. jobs linked to small merchants selling items on Alibaba platforms.

Analysts said the early withdrawal of Ma, the charismatic face of a company that has revolutionized how and what China's people consume, will challenge Alibaba to carry on Ma's vision amid rising competition.

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