Alibaba's Jack Ma Says "Open-Minded, Listening" Donald Trump Should Be Given "Some Time"

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Speaking in Davos, the internet mogul said he wants to keep working with Hollywood because downbeat Chinese movies too often kill off their heroes.

Alibaba's Jack Ma on Wednesday urged that the new Trump administration be given time to avoid a trade war between the U.S. and China.

"We should give President-elect Donald Trump some time. He's open-minded. He's listening," the internet mogul told the World Economic Forum in Davos 10 days ago, after meeting with Trump in New York. Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba, said China and the U.S. have to avoid any major confrontation at all costs.

"It's so easy to launch a war. It's so difficult, almost impossible sometimes, to terminate that war," said Ma. "The Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, are those finished?" Ma then rebuked Trump's criticisms of free trade and globalization by arguing "when trade stops, wars start."

On the issue of whether China is taking jobs from the U.S., Ma insisted the causes of America's lost manufacturing base were closer to home. "It's not the other countries steal jobs from you guys. It is your strategy. You don't distribute the money and things in the proper way," the Alibaba boss said during a Davos session that was webcast.

Ma argued the U.S. had directed too much money to fighting wars overseas, especially in the Middle East, and to Wall Street, rather than invest in its own people and infrastructure. "No matter how good is your strategy, you're supposed to spend money on your own people. Not everyone can pass Harvard. We should spend money on those people who are not good at schooling," said Ma.

Turning to Hollywood, Ma argued Alibaba will continue to invest in movie-making and other entertainment content as Ma's empire moves away from just being an e-commerce business. "Movies bring people happiness. Today's nobody's happy. Rich people aren't happy, poor people aren't happy. At least when they watch a movie, they can feel happy," said Ma.

He added filmmakers in China need to partner with Hollywood to make more upbeat movies, "In China, we have a lot of heroes, but the heroes are always dead. In American movies, the hero never dies. If all the heroes die, who wants to be the hero?"

"So (in) my movies, I want to make the hero live," he added. Alibaba's media and entertainment subsidiary in October 2016 said it had plans to invest $7.2 billion (RMB50 billion) in media and entertainment during the next three years.

The new Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group comprises the film studio, Alibaba Pictures Group, streaming video giant Youku Tudou, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper, and various other sports, games, literature, music and digital entertainment divisions.