Billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma spoke with CNBC from the sidelines of the Gateway ’17 conference in Detroit and discussed small businesses and their great potential for growth.
But Ma said the power of giant companies is on the decline as more small businesses get exposure with the internet, and have the opportunity to reap the benefits of globalization.
“Large scale was the model,” Ma said. “Personalized, custom-made is the future.”
Ma has traveled extensively to convince world leaders that small businesses should be the driver of globalization.
In a meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump in January, Ma said Alibaba plans to help create1 million American jobs over the next five years, mostly by facilitating sales from small businesses.
“The way to figure out the job creation, one of the best ways, is to help small business to sell their local products across the board,” Ma said. “And we have to prepare now. Because the next 30 years is going to be painful.”
Ma cited China’s 300 million middle-class consumers who desire American-made products as the drivers behind this massive job creation.
“The domestic demand and power of China is gonna drive millions and millions of small businesses,” Ma said.
Alibaba already has 20,000 small businesses from California alone selling their products through the site, reaching China’s massive middle class, and he plans to support many more U.S. small businesses in the future.