International

JD.com CEO Slams US Protectionism Stance Against China

JD.com, the second largest eCommerce company in China — second only to Alibaba — railed against the U.S. on Wednesday (Jan.24), arguing the stance of protectionism the government has embraced under Donald Trump will ultimately backfire.

According to news from Reuters, JD.com Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Liu stated at the World Economic Forum, currently being held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, that: “Many friends from other countries discuss protectionism in China, but I think things have completely reversed. One day it will hurt the U.S. economy too.”

The comments come in the wake of a decision by the U.S. government to place large tariffs on washing machines and solar panels entering the country. President Donald Trump said the import tariffs are designed to preserve U.S. jobs but prompted expressions of unhappiness on the part of China and South Korea. The U.S. government also recently rejected China’s Ant Financial acquisition proposal for MoneyGram International, a U.S. company, claiming national security concerns.

Liu said during the World Economic Forum that while JD.com wants to become the leader over Alibaba domestically and outside China, making a push into the U.S. has become increasingly difficult. JD.com is focusing for now on the Southeast Asian market and will look to grow partly via acquisitions.

“It’s hard to use only one model. In Southeast Asia, we look for local partners to develop business, but we don’t want to exclude acquisitions,” Liu said, according to Reuters.

While Alibaba is viewed as a rival, JD.com has done business with Tencent, the Chinese internet company. In late December of 2017, JD.com took part in an investment round in Vishop, an apparel platform in China. Tencent led the $863 million round of fundraising, with JD.com investing $259 million for a 5.5 percent stake.

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