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Jack Ma, the co-founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said 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 on 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 the importance of the two countries working together and sharing technology.
The trade dispute, which has been going on for more than a year and a half, has already ensnared more than 70% of bilateral trade in goods. If the two countries can’t resolve at least some of their differences in the coming weeks, the White House on Dec. 15 will add 15% punitive tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese imports. 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’s shares were little changed in New York Thursday at $182.80. They have risen 33% this year.
(Updates with shares in final paragraph. An earlier version was corrected to remove a reference to Ma’s reason for Hong Kong listing)