NEW YORK – Jack Ma, the co-founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has warned that the U.S.-China relationship could face 20 years of “turbulence” if the two superpowers aren’t careful in how they handle trade.
“We have to be very, very careful,” Ma said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “We have to solve problems — we should not create more problems.”
While a full-scale trade war might not last that long, relations could end up rocky for the next two decades, he said. Ma emphasized that it was important for the two countries to work together and share technology.
The trade dispute, which has been going on for more than a year and a half, has already ensnared more than 70 percent of bilateral trade in goods. If the two countries can’t resolve at least some of their differences by Dec. 15, the White House is set to add 15 percent punitive tariffs on Chinese imports valued at $160 billion.
China-based Alibaba, one of Asia’s biggest companies, is expected to ride out the storm better than some, thanks to booming online consumption in the world’s No. 2 economy. But Alibaba saw its stock dip earlier this fall on reports that the Trump administration was weighing a limit on U.S. government pension funds buying Chinese stocks.
The internet giant listed shares in New York in 2014, in the biggest ever initial public offering. It’s now readying a share sale in Hong Kong that could raise almost $12 billion.
Alibaba priced the retail portion of its Hong Kong share sale Friday, and capped the 12.5 million shares available to individual investors at 188 Hong Kong dollars apiece — an auspicious number in Chinese culture — making it the most expensive first-time share sale in Hong Kong.