Alibaba's Ma Meets Trump, Promises to Bring 1 Million Jobs to US
Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma met U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant's new plan to bring one million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years, an Alibaba spokesman said. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd expects the initiative to create one million U.S. jobs as each company adds a position, company spokesman Bob Christie said in a phone call. Alibaba has previously campaigned to bring more small U.S. businesses onto the company's sites, but this is the first time Ma has discussed specific targets.
Total Retail's Take: This is certainly encouraging news, but is it realistic? Many of the small businesses that are being targeted to sell on Alibaba's platform are really small — like one person selling trinkets out of their home small. It's simply not feasible in most cases for these merchants to hire another full-time employee. In fact, for many of these merchants it's not even their full-time job, but a hobby. While it's all well and good that Alibaba hopes to expand its presence outside of China and in the U.S. — and it certainly will result in some level of job creation domestically — don't hold your breath for one million new jobs.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.