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Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., speaks during a news conference in Shanghai, China.
A day earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country will import $30 trillion in goods and $10 trillion in services over the next 15 years. China’s trade deficit with the U.S. — which hit a record high in September — has been targeted by the Trump administration with tariffs this year.
“We hope through globalization to use China’s consumer market to bring the whole world’s goods to China,” Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said during a speech at the “Global Import Leadership Summit,” hosted by the Chinese e-commerce giant and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
“Especially some small and medium sized enterprises, they need to open their market in China,” Zhang said, according to a CNBC translation. The event took place on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo, which is part of a major Chinese effort to present the country as an anti-protectionist consumer of the world’s goods.
JD.com, Alibaba’s domestic e-commerce rival, announced Monday it will purchase nearly 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion) in overseas brands’ goods. No timeframe was given.
Zhang’s comments echoed outgoing Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma’s push to work with small business on the company’s e-commerce platforms.
Ma said in September that Alibaba can no longer fulfill his promise of creating 1 million U.S. jobs due to trade tensions.
At a separate event on Monday alongside the expo, Ma called the U.S.-China trade war the “most stupid thing in this world,” according to Reuters and state media reports.
Zhang is set to succeed Ma as chairman of the board next September. Until that time, Ma will remain executive chairman. He plans to stay on the board of directors through the 2020 annual shareholders meeting while focusing more of his time on philanthropy and education.
Last week, Alibaba lowered its fiscal 2019 revenue guidance by 4 to 6 percent.