Jack Ma: Wars start when trade stops
Jack Ma has a warning for those who see globalisation as a problem: When trade stops, wars can follow. “We should keep on going along the path of globalisation,” Ma said last Friday in Hangzhou, China. “Globalisation is good... when trade stops, war comes.” The executive chairman of Alibaba (BABA, Tech30) said he hopes the anti-globalisation fervour that currently grips much of the world will ease after US elections in November. China, in particular, has been a target of heated rhetoric.
“Every time there’s an election, people start to criticise China. They criticise this, they criticise that,” Mr Ma told CNN’s Andrew Stevens. “[But] how can you stop global trade? How can you build a wall to stop the trade?” G20 leaders are preparing to meet this weekend in Hangzhou, the city where Mr Ma founded his e-commerce giant in 1999. Trade -- and globalisation -- are likely to be major topics of discussion.
For his part, the 52-year-old believes that globalisation hasn’t gone far enough. He said international trade must now be improved so that more people can enjoy its benefits. Mr Ma is hoping to pitch G20 leaders on an electronic world trade platform, or e-WTP, that would help small businesses expand their customer base globally, the way multinational corporations have been able to. It would also help eliminate tariffs, inspections and other red tape that can trip up mom and pop shops. “We need solutions for young people to leverage the technology we have, so they can buy anywhere, sell anywhere, trade anywhere,” he said. “If you want to get involved, just join.” The first G20 summit was held in 2008. The annual confab of the world’s 20 largest economies has a mixed record on producing meaningful policy results, but Mr Ma said the summit would be a “great opportunity” for politicians to listen to business leaders. “Every government says they love small businesses, but what have they done for them?” Ma asked. “We should pull down all the barriers.”