What 1 Million US Jobs? Dreading a Trade War, China Sends Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Trump for some Fence Mending

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A friendly chat among billionaires who presumably see eye-to-eye.

Carrot and Stick. That’s how China is approaching a pending trade war and all kinds of disagreements proffered by President-Elect Donald Trump. Here’s the carrot, as tweeted by CNBC:

NEW: Alibaba’s Jack Ma is meeting with Trump today about Alibaba’s latest US expansion plans, including creating 1M US jobs over next 5 yrs

A limp carrot? Jack Ma isn’t going to “create” jobs in the US; he will merely allow small US companies to get on Alibaba’s platform and sell directly to Chinese consumers, in competition with Chinese vendors and knock-offs that find their way on the site, which might, should, or could add maybe 1 million jobs in the US over the next five years.

So how exactly would those million jobs appear in the US? An Alibaba spokesman told Reuters in a phone call that each of the one-million small companies that would get on the platform would create one position. So that’s how the promised “1M US jobs,” as CNBC had put it, would materialize.

That was one of the carrots China offered: direct access to its consumers, even as American consumers have long been able to buy directly from Chinese vendors via Alibaba.

Jack Ma, the 15th richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg Billionaires, wasn’t the only corporate chieftain today to meet with Trump. There was a whole parade, including Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury goods company LVMH, richest person in France, and 13th richest person in the world. Fashion site WWD:

“One of the great men, you know that, right? And they all love this country,” Trump said of Arnault after their meeting. “They’re going to do some wonderful things in this country,” he said, adding “jobs, a lot of jobs.”

WDD sprinkled in some food for thought:

Arnault does have a major financial interest in meeting with Trump in terms of the Louis Vuitton flagship at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Stores in the area around Trump Tower at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street have been severely impacted by all the security precautions put in place to protect the president-elect. Some retailers in the neighborhood have said their business has declined by 30 percent or more because shoppers are being scared off.

So Jack Ma’s meeting with Trump was not, per se, unusual. It fit the mold. Another multi-billionaire trying to get a foot in the door with the next administration.




But it has another component. This is best explained by what Ma did in December 2015. The New York Times:

The Alibaba Group, the Chinese Internet giant, is making an ambitious play to reshape media coverage of its home country, taking aim at what company executives call the “negative” portrayal of China in the Western media.

As the backbone of this effort, Alibaba agreed on Friday to buy the media assets of the SCMP Group, including one of Hong Kong’s most influential English language daily newspapers, The South China Morning Post. Alibaba is acquiring an award-winning newspaper that for decades has reported aggressively on subjects that China’s state-run media outlets are forbidden to cover, like political scandals and human-rights cases.

Alibaba said the deal was fueled by a desire to improve China’s image and offer an alternative to what it calls the biased lens of Western news outlets. While Alibaba said the Chinese government had no role in its deal to buy the Hong Kong newspaper, the company’s position aligns closely with that of the Communist Party, which has grown increasingly critical of the way Western news organizations cover China.

This acquisition was somewhat ironic in that Alibaba had raised billions of US dollars, including the capital needed for acquisitions, by selling its shares, or rather “American Depositary Receipts” (ADRs), to the American public in 2014 via the New York Stock Exchange.

So Jack Ma, emissary of the Chinese government? The whole meeting was surrounded by the now standard rhetoric.

Trump told reporters afterwards, when they emerged together, that they’d had a “great meeting” and that they would do great things together.

Ma said Trump was “smart” and “open-minded” and the meeting was “very productive.”

“We mainly talked about small business and young people and American agriculture products to China,” he said. “And we also think, that the China and US relationship should be strengthened, should be more friendly.”

A-ha!

And here are the sticks. The latest was trotted out Sunday evening in the Global Times, a tabloid published by The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, when it warned:

“If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining.”

The threat, in English, was triggered when Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen stopped over in Houston, on her way to Central America, and met Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. She also spoke on the phone with Senator John McCain, head of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Right after the election, Trump had infuriated Beijing by accepting a congratulatory call from Tsai and shedding doubt on the US commitment to China’s claim that Taiwan is part of China. The threat came with a lecture:

Sticking to this principle (the “one-China policy”) is not a capricious request by China upon US presidents, but an obligation of US presidents to maintain China-US relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific.

So Ma’s friendly chat with Trump, among billionaires who can presumably see eye-to-eye on business dealings, came just at the nick of time.

Because the US business connections to China are complex and deep. Read…  Um, General Chinese Motors?




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  71 comments for “What 1 Million US Jobs? Dreading a Trade War, China Sends Alibaba’s Jack Ma to Trump for some Fence Mending

  1. arbuthnot
    Jan 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Diplomats often say what their opposite numbers want to hear, but their words have little meaning until we see what they actually do.

    BTW, that’s known as not telegraphing your punches.

  2. Gian
    Jan 9, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Looks like the Chinese just blinked, twice. First with Ma and then a follow up with their currency manipulation (as reported on Bloomberg today).

    • Bryce
      Jan 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      And if China wasn’t manipulating their currency, it would fall by over 20%. So do we want China to orchestrate an orderly decline in their currency, or float their currency and have it lose over 20% instantly? Remember, the latter choice would send a tsunami across the financial markets leading to trillions more being lost around the world. But hey, at least China aren’t manipulating their currency anymore! Those are your two choices so choose wisely.

      Also, why aren’t people complaining about the Euro and British pound being down 35% and 40% respectively? China’s currency is down less than that, so why such the backlash against China’s currency policy? There are many things to complain about when it comes to China and their trade practices, but them manipulating their currency so it remains stronger is the least of our problems. It is nothing more than a political talking point.

      • nick kelly
        Jan 9, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        If Trump brands China a currency manipulator it won’t be because he thinks the yuan is too high. In fact I’ve never heard external complaints about any country’s currency being too high- those complaints come from inside the country.

        Sorry just thought of one, right under my nose. There are complaints about the US$ being too strong- and the US agrees. But that’s the only case I can think of.

        Back in the days of the D-mark it was reported that German industry had begun to ‘despair’ of the Bundesbank’s hands- off policy to the high mark.
        The independence of the B-bank is constitutionally protected, there was nothing politicians could do.
        The euro nearing parity or lower solves that problem, and then some.

        BTW: today we tend to think of the IMF as a lender but it was set up to prevent competitive devaluations.

      • Chris
        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm

        It is a little more complicated ….first of all Euro and Pound are freely traded currencies, Renminbi is not. Second yes Chinese are trying to stop capital outflow and foreign reserves currency bleeding and to save their indebted in dollars companies. But how China accumulated so many dollars? Well, by keeping for decades their currency week ( so they can turn their country to manufacturing hub and learn know how) by buying dollars with printed money. Chinese also are involved in massive technology theft. They also massively produce knock-offs. China is also expending its military capability. Did you look at the map of South East China See claimed by China? It is ridiculous! Nobody can agree for claim like that. Building artificial island and putting arms on them. Problem with China is that it is not a democracy. No free elections, always vote against US in UN, for decades played us when it comes to N.Korea. They became wealthy not only because hard work but also thanks to us. It does not look for me as a good deal. Yes, i can buy cheep stuff in Walmart as our economists tell us on Bloomberg but at the same time we lost millions of jobs and a lot of Americans are left with minimum wage jobs, welfare, subsidize housing, no pensions etc. Is this a good deal? I keep hearing that it is not China or Mexico’s fault but robotisation. But it does not make sense. If it is robots that take jobs why they are moving factories to Mexico or China? Robots should help to keep jobs here! Yes we would have less people working but factories should stay here! We moved so many manufacturing jobs that we do not have now qualified people to do it if we stopped importing.
        One more thing worth mentioning is that local governments in China are imposing extra taxes on US companies or businesses protecting their own. It has never been plain level field. I do not even mention salaries, work conditions, healthcare and retirement benefits. In China are benefiting mostly big multinational companies and they do not care about working people in US or Europe. If China wants to be friends with US they need to start behaving like friends. But how can you be a friend with Communist government ( yes i know they implement a lot of capitalism) which controls media, internet, speech and jail or kill people for religious beliefs, opinions. Is this what we stand for? We brought up this beast and now we do not know what to do with it. We hoped since Nixon that if we open for China and do business with them they will change…well same plan Obama has for Cuba. We just made them stronger and no change in sight. N. Korea soon will be able to reach with its nukes West Coast of US.

  3. Bruce
    Jan 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Makes you wonder how the trump supporters are feeling now

    • walter map
      Jan 9, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      He’ll sell out to anybody, so this should go well.

      His supporters have aggressively embraced nihilism and terminal self-deception or both, so to them it’s all good.

      • Jas
        Jan 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

        But.. Since 95% of Trump voters only get their news from Fox News, Breitbart, right-wing radio and facebook news feeds, it’s likely that they will never hear or read any of this.. That’s the beauty of living in a bubble. Their news is carefully selected and the long view narrative dictates what is “real”. That’s really what The Donald meant when he said he could shoot someone in broad daylight on 5th ave and still win the election.

        • katesweat
          Jan 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

          But true.

        • Marty
          Jan 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

          You may be right, but I’m not so sure. I suspect that a large % of Trump voters voted from him not because they love him or his policies or that they watch Fox–haven’t you heard that the msm is dying?–but because that HATED Hillary and all the sobs (banksters, deep state, etc) who supported her. IOW, there is no echo chamber or bubble for these people, unlike the left which is certainly in their own bubble and demonstrably so.

        • Bookdoc
          Jan 9, 2017 at 7:53 pm

          You might be surprised-I am a strong Trump supporter yet I read this, Zerohedge, and Mish regularly. Don’t accept the lsm’s characterization of the Trump supporters. Many of us are educated and simply horrified about what is happening to our country.

        • walter map
          Jan 9, 2017 at 8:04 pm

          “Many of us are educated and simply horrified about what is happening to our country.”

          Now would be a good time to start panicking so you can avoid the rush later on.

        • DH
          Jan 9, 2017 at 8:11 pm

          Read the comments over on Zero Hedge for just a single minute and you’ll see what kind of cesspool that place is.

          This is one of the few financial blogs that attracts people with opposing views who still manage to be quite civil.

        • walter map
          Jan 9, 2017 at 8:12 pm

          “I suspect that a large % of Trump voters voted from him not because they love him or his policies or that they watch Fox . . . but because that HATED Hillary and all the sobs (banksters, deep state, etc) who supported her.”

          They’re no longer supporting HRC. Guess who they’re supporting now?

        • Petunia
          Jan 9, 2017 at 9:35 pm

          Jas, you are living in a liberal well furnished bubble. I was a Trump supporter and I didn’t have to go to any web site to see what was going on in my own life and the lives of everybody I knew. Things have been bad out here for a long time and the only thing motivating liberals was Israel, sodomy, and abortion. That’s why Trump picked up the Presidency.

        • Edward E
          Jan 10, 2017 at 1:19 am

          Right now I’m more worried about the current wacko president starting WW3 in ten days, instead of just cleaning out his desk and leaving.

        • rvette454
          Jan 10, 2017 at 2:31 am

          The one subject that will get less airplay on msm is climate change. Talk about living in a bubble and ignoring strong evidence and possible economic gain in alternative energy. It is deafening to hear the ” we can’t afford it” mantra start up once again in Congress and the Presidency.

        • GSX
          Jan 10, 2017 at 9:10 am

          Petunia – He lost the vote of Americans by about 3 million. Alot of people appeared motivated by more than the items you list. So have another drink and expand your mind. Your post is trash to put it mildly and insulting to those who have issues they care about beyond what you list. Sad but then again losing your house was your problem and not Trumps or Clinton. Grow up.

        • Petunia
          Jan 10, 2017 at 10:53 am

          GSX,

          I forgot to add climate change to the list. The democrat party is now a regional party, good luck expanding your base.

        • Gadi
          Jan 10, 2017 at 10:53 am

          @petunia. I think you mean anti-Israel. Most Israel first supporters voted for Trump.

    • Kam
      Jan 11, 2017 at 11:12 am

      Other than meeting, shaking hands with Jack Ma. I don’t see Trump being swayed by a head fake.

  4. Kam
    Jan 9, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Want to sell into China? If it is raw materials, welcome. If it is finished products, go to desk #1 and wait.

    The American public got suckered by the Globalists with the Chinese entry into the WTO. Without free access to the American consumer market, there would never have been the Chinese economic “miracle”.

    • walter map
      Jan 9, 2017 at 6:09 pm

      The Chinese merely saw what the Japanese did thirty years ago and copied it, and so have other countries on smaller scales.

      The U.S. government is for rent by just about anybody with a campaign contribution or a future fat paycheck, so anybody can do it. And just about everybody has.

      Campaign finance reform has long been illegal in D.C., and the USSC has ruled it unconstitutional, so get used to watching your country get bled to death.

      • RD Blakeslee
        Jan 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

        Japan: Thirty years … AND 90 years, ago.

        Japan built its military in preparation for its attack on Pearl Harbor by way of scrap steel (among other things) imported from the U.S.

        • walter map
          Jan 10, 2017 at 12:37 am

          India gets U.S. scrap steel now. They’re glad to have it. Maybe they’ll invade the U.S. Maybe they already have.

  5. Mike R
    Jan 9, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    What Jack Ma REALLY meant, is that he wants US small businesses to use Alibaba.com to BUY Chinese products, and to essentially become small business importers, direct to the consumer, which could theoretically wipe out a lot of the larger middlemen, who put together a larger distribution chain, and add one more step of a ‘dealer’. The possibility does exist, and I have been personally looking into it for a line of goods that are sold now with several layers of ‘middle men’ that essentially add nothing to the current value chain. They are AT BEST adding branding, but little else, including next to no warranty support. And then handling customs, and the process of off-loading the Chinese goods here in ports. (contracted to small local shippers and truckers).
    But you will NOT be selling hardly ANY goods on Alibaba.com to Chinese consumers. Besides the platform is loaded with at least 30 to 40 manufacturers of just about any product you can think of. The ONLY way this platform maintains its viability is by that very notion of millions of small businesses (not end consumers) buying in some form of bulk quantity. Chinese businesses and all the manufacturing that exists today, is WAY over capacity, and they are NOT set up to sell to end consumers. They need the local small businesses that know how to sell, service, support, market their products. Chinese manufacturers are TERRIBLE marketers, besides not knowing our culture or the language. They just dont ‘get it’ and they want to sell what one item or few items they know how to build, of which there are 50 other copy cats who can build the same item. So many more jobs will be created by small business importers and small resellers, using the internet for convenience, and giving those small businesses a few of the advantages that up until a few years ago, only existed for larger, well funded businesses who can send people overseas to negotiate face to face. Quality issues are still a huge risk for that small business, willing to take the risk.

    • rvette454
      Jan 10, 2017 at 2:44 am

      Exactly, Mike. Our marketing and salesmanship also add to the price to the consumer here in the States. We have to sell those color T.V’s.

  6. Tom Kauser
    Jan 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Someone has a large fortune and needs a quick plan to remain such?
    Selling a lot of commercial real estate could propel the new president above 50% in popularity and provide looting cover for the congress?

    • walter map
      Jan 9, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      You think too small. You’ll never win a reality teevee game show that way.

  7. michael engel
    Jan 9, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Jazz, my impression is that many of Wolfstreet readers are
    Trump supports, ….
    Trump personality traits have some parallels to those of
    Bismarck. Follow up Bismarck if you want to predict what Trump might do, read few Bismarck biography books,
    with an understanding that Bismarck was the chief
    architect of uniting the German nations and the US is not.
    Make America Great isn’t about the GDP, or the Dow, or
    even job creation. Make America Great from a different angle.
    The most consistent massage in his campaign was :
    “you don’t always get want you want” at the closing moments.
    Down load on his supporters by repetitions. Pay attention !!
    Add to that : Trump is a second generation German/Scott.

    • walter map
      Jan 9, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      “Make America Great isn’t about the GDP, or the Dow, or
      even job creation.”

      From the all-over-the-map campaign promises it’s impossible to tell for sure what he’d do other than legalise hate speech and popularise groping.

      It could be significant that he’s stacking his administration with billionaire profiteers, and also significant that his supporters and the news media don’t mention it.

      • Brett
        Jan 10, 2017 at 12:58 am

        I think people just want decent jobs and under Obama they just saw 8 years of everything getting worse. Always better to vote for hope and change than the status quo in that situation, so Hillary got knocked out of the way.

        I have no idea where the US will be in 4 years time.

    • nick kelly
      Jan 10, 2017 at 1:13 am

      ‘Disputes are decided by blood and iron’:
      “War is just politics by other means’
      Bismarck

      When the German states were unified under Prussia following the Franco-Prussian war, (Bismark proclaimed the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles) Germany became a military state.
      This began the disasters ending in 1945.

      With Bismarck dismissed, and after several near wars, Kaiser Wilhelm II was concerned that he might be overthrown by the military if he ‘fell out’ backed down, again.

      As August 1914 came to an end, there is evidence that the military doctored telegrams to provoke him. The military believed, correctly, that Germany was best prepared for war, and was sure it could handle France and Russia. But they and the Kaiser believed up until the final week that Britain would remain neutral, and it would be a one or two month 1870 all over again. The final telegrams from King George to the Kaiser come close to begging for negotiations.

      In defense of Bismark he was not at the helm and he would never have let the generals influence matters like the Kaiser, who German historians describe as a weakling. I’m sure his writing is interesting and intelligent. His main task in unifying Germany under Prussia was to expel the apparent candidate for leadership, Austria. Again, this was accomplished by a short war in 1866. This was an example of ‘blood and iron’ quickly deciding a political question and further tilted the German culture in favor of Prussian militarism.

      1866, quick victory over Austria. 1870, quick HUGE victory defeating France.
      What could go wrong?

      In the 1914 event the largest military movement in history began and two million German troops swept across Belgium, provoking Britain’s entry.

      But technology had swung against the offensive, anyone’s offensive.

      At this early stage the BEF had few machine guns, but it could get off up to eight shots a minute from its rifles. After chasing British and French across Belgium and into France, the Germans got thirty miles from Paris, and were stopped at the battle of the Marne river, which was so choked with bodies it over flowed its banks.

      The Germans pulled back and both sides dug trenches across Europe.
      Then in 1918, after defeating Russia, the Kaiser’s offensive almost reached Paris again, but the army and country was exhausted.

      Bismarck’s policy that war is the decider and can be switched on and off as politics require was first outmoded by rapid firing rifles and then machine guns.
      It is even more outmoded in the era of the H-bomb. About 16,000 exist.
      It is the only type of weapon not used so far. A small atomic explosion serves as its detonator.
      The warning of outgoing President Eisenhower to beware the military-industrial complex seems appropriate.

      • d
        Jan 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

        “As August 1914 came to an end, there is evidence that the military doctored telegrams to provoke him. The military believed, correctly, that Germany was best prepared for war, and was sure it could handle France and Russia.”

        ??????????

        By August 1914 it was way to late.Spider france had been injecting its poison for years, war was a certainty, no matter what Germany did, exactly as france had planned it.

  8. RD Blakeslee
    Jan 9, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    It will be interesting to see what jobs Ma has in mind, when he promises a million.

    His main competitor appears to be eliminating jobs:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-robot-army-has-grown-by-50-2017-1

    • walter map
      Jan 9, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      “It will be interesting to see what jobs Ma has in mind, when he promises a million.”

      Unpaid internships. His fresh minions will no doubt benefit enormously from the excellent work experience needed to build their resumes.

    • Petunia
      Jan 9, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Anytime the Chinese invest in a country they bring in Chinese immigrants to man the jobs. One million jobs courtesy of Alibaba could mean one million more Chinese immigrants. If you want to see this tactic in action look at Chinese investments in Africa and South America. Nobody asked who would be getting those one million jobs, only that they would be done in America.

      • roddy6667
        Jan 9, 2017 at 10:56 pm

        Exactly.

      • walter map
        Jan 10, 2017 at 12:34 am

        “Anytime the Chinese invest in a country they bring in Chinese immigrants to man the jobs.”

        Your man gets two bucks a head. He needs the money. As poster child for rapacious corporatists, that’s what he does. That’s all he’s ever done, aside from catapulting contradictory propaganda by the boatload.

        Good luck with that.

        • Nicko
          Jan 10, 2017 at 2:31 am

          Also, concerning China in Africa. They may bring over the engineers, architects, ect… but they’re increasingly hiring local laborers and experts. China is building manufacturing plants, industrial farms, and mines throughout Africa…manned by Africans. Knowledge and skills transfer is happening. This isn’t a repeat of the European colonial conquest of the continent of the 19th and 20th century.

        • Rim Rogers
          Jan 10, 2017 at 4:21 am

          Also, where is the 1M job growth’s effects? China charges 19%-60% tariff on goods purchased through foreign websites? but a zero tax rated for China products bring in to USA. Alibaba is the largest service provider of counterfeit merchandise in the world. If Alibaba encourages a US company to provide a lowest price and take business away from another US company. China relationship is hypocritical.

      • Chicken
        Jan 10, 2017 at 9:06 am

        The African giraffe population has crashed due to habitat destruction, certainly there are places humans should not be developing and this is one.

  9. walter map
    Jan 9, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    It’s easy to suppose Jack Ma is angling for a cabinet appointment. He is a billionaire, after all.

    All: “Cha-ching!”

  10. james wordsworth
    Jan 9, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    SCMP really has become a worthless rag under Alibaba. Sad to see really as it used to be rather good. If it is an example of what alibaba and the 40 thieves bring to the table, run really really fast because those 1 million (lol) jobs will cost an awful lot, and then will not materialize.

  11. memento mori
    Jan 9, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    You become a billionaire by being extremely smart or extremely lucky or combination thereof, assuming none of Trump’s billionaires inherited their fortune.
    Why such a person would not do a better job than a career seeking public office person ?

    • Petunia
      Jan 9, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      Public officials are suppose to look after the interest of the voters. But that hasn’t been the case in the US for a very long time. Voters have finally woken up to that fact and are trying something else. The better question is, why would all these billionaires leave lucrative careers to move to govt service? I think the dysfunction has finally reached them as well.

      • SoberMoney
        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:18 am

        No Petunia, they see their Trump appointments as an opportunity to pilfer our tax dollars to enrich themselves even more AND to impose their self-righteous grandiosity on us poor misguided souls.

        I doubt you can tell the difference between citizen altruism and megalomania.

        You mentioned sodomy at another post. Well, that’s what Trump and Pence is doing to America.

        • Petunia
          Jan 10, 2017 at 11:39 am

          Hillary had to give back items she took from the White House, how’s that for pilfering. NAFTA and NDAA are both democrat party impositions.

        • walter map
          Jan 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

          “Hillary had to give back items she took from the White House, how’s that for pilfering.”

          Snopes disagrees with you:

          The Clintons were not “forced” to return any gifts, they were not found to have “stolen” any items

          http://www.snopes.com/hillary-clinton-stole-white-house-furniture/

          If you’re going to post something that discredits the Clintons, try sticking to something that isn’t merely lying propaganda.

        • Petunia
          Jan 10, 2017 at 2:44 pm

          They mention the 86K worth of stuff they had to return here:

          http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/

    • walter map
      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:52 am

      “You become a billionaire by being extremely smart or extremely lucky or combination thereof”

      Puh-leeze. You become a billionaire by cheating everybody in sight, hazing your workers, buying out politicians, hiring the nastiest lawyers available, and purchasing news outlets to let everybody know what a nice guy you are.

      Poor people have only themselves to blames for not doing the same thing, while ruthless criminals need to adjust their game plan.

      • nick kelly
        Jan 10, 2017 at 1:24 am

        You are commenting on a computer that would have cost a million dollars thirty years ago. Neither Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was born wealthy. like for example Trump.
        Their efforts made them billionaires, but who have they cheated?
        And spare us the EU anti- trust suit, that’s a side line, provoked as by jealousy that Europe hasn’t played much a role in the computer revolution.

        • Gadi
          Jan 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm

          Except that Bill Gates was born rich.

          “William Henry Gates, Jr. and Mary Maxwell were among Seattle’s social and financial elite. Bill Gates, Jr. was a prominent corporate lawyer while Mary Maxwell was a board member of First Interstate Bank and Pacific Northwest Bell. She was also on the national board of United Way, along with John Opel, the chief executive officer of IBM who approved the inclusion of MS/DOS with the original IBM PC.”

        • nick kelly
          Jan 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

          I knew someone would chime in with the fact that Bill’s parents were well- to- do. In fact I almost added ‘in not born wealthy’ the words ‘or poor’
          As far as I know, and I’m always prepared to be enlightened, no parental money was involved in MS.

          Trivia: Gates had been a member of a computer club.
          Popular Electronics magazine advertised a kit computer, the Altair.
          It had no compiler or translator program- you had to enter the instructions in machine language, binary- a string of 1’s and 0’s.
          And the result would appear as 1’s and 0’s.

          So Altair, trying to make this more user friendly, put out a requisition for a translator program or compiler.
          When Bill and gang showed up with it and were waiting, the secretary thought they were the kids of the principals who had somehow got into the meeting without her noticing.

          When the presentation began, Bill entered 2+2 and the screen read ‘4’ not 001 (no ones, no twos, one four)
          The Altair execs were thrilled- no one had seen the machine do anything before.
          There is no doubt that the social link to an IBM guy smoothed the way for MS to present a bid for the IBM PC operating system but they weren’t the first choice. If memory serves Gates had referred IBM to someone he thought more qualified. But when the IBM guys arrived for the meeting, the guy was up in his plane and wouldn’t come down. Again it been years since I read this so..
          What is amazing is that after paying to have MS provide a disc operating system. it let MS keep the rights to it.
          No doubt at this stage IBM thought these personal computers
          were a faddish toy.

          So for sure Gates was born into an affluent family but he was a billionaire before inheriting what ever he did (if he has) and I believe his father was against handing out money.
          If he didn’t invest in MS he sure missed the boat.

        • nick kelly
          Jan 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

          And I have to add that to be ‘born rich’ is technically impossible.
          You have whatever your well- off parents will give you.
          Some very rich parents are very stingy. Canada’s richest man. Thompson, has been seen in a bargain basement buying day- old bread. He only heats a small portion of the sprawling house.

          Many rich parents have openly said their kids aren’t inheriting.
          I think Warren Buffet is one.

      • SoberMoney
        Jan 10, 2017 at 3:22 am

        Or, Walter, you can inherit money from your racist father and build casinos for addicts and Eastern European prostitutes to work at.

        • walter map
          Jan 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

          At the least it would qualify me for high public office, assuming I didn’t put the lot of them into rehab.

  12. Oliphant
    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I’m surprised no one, even Wolf, has mentioned you need a ‘Chinese partner’ to manufacture in China. Not to mention you can’t buy land there.

    I really hope Trump closes that smogy hell hole off and allows it to implode. My guess is the impending war with North Korea will do that. The USA can be self sufficient. Monetize the US debt and get it over with.

    China is just one big parasite that exports its unemployment to the world.

    Short term pain, long term gain.

    • Jan 10, 2017 at 12:46 am

      If Trump can shake up our trading partners a little, particularly China and Japan, so that they will allow US businesses to do there what their businesses are allowed to do in the US (reciprocity), without triggering an all-out trade war, that would be a good thing. And if that’s the outcome of all this, kudos!

      BTW, I just covered the “Chinese partner” issue in the article on GM in China…
      http://wolfstreet.com/2017/01/05/um-general-chinese-motors/

  13. Jan 9, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Ma = mendacious sack of s it. The US isn’t going to export goods to China. What the US exports to the rest of the world is dollar credit. Tens of millions of US customers borrow dollars and send them to China in exchange for overpriced poison dog food. Alibaba adding a million US jobs would have China sending those dollars back to the US which is the LAST thing the Chinese government wants. Right this minute dollars are leaking fast out of China, soon enough people will be asking embarrassing questions about how many dollars the Chinese actually have in reserve.

    Once the PBoC can’t spend like a drunken sailor (when it runs out of dollars) it won’t be able to support the yuan and that currency will follow the Turkish lira all the way to zero.

    Ma and Trump both are up a creek without a paddle. Energy deflation has taken hold — when fuel constraints cause fuel prices to drop rather than rise. So also has dollar preference — when the US dollar becomes a de-facto ‘hard’ currency backed by petroleum rather than the evanescent promises of consumer paradise. In the face of these two complimentary dynamics is nothing the governments, the stupid politicians and inept businessmen — even Jesus Christ — can do about it.

    At least w/ Jesus you can pray.

    • walter map
      Jan 10, 2017 at 12:25 am

      “At least w/ Jesus you can pray.”

      Jesus wants everybody off the planet by the end of the month. A buyer is interested in the property.

      Good luck getting your security deposit back.

    • nick kelly
      Jan 10, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      GM sells more cars in China than it does in the US

  14. NotSoSure
    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    One million real estate speculators is more like it probably.

  15. Raymond Rogers
    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Wolf, could you please put an “ignore” button in. It becomes rather tiresome when a particular person feels the need to interject at each post. This spamming of the comments has caused the comment section to be less desirable to read than in times past.

    • rvette454
      Jan 10, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Nah, leave it alone Wolf, ignoring someone is justice in a sense.

    • walter map
      Jan 10, 2017 at 9:09 am

      I guess this means you won’t be joining my fan club after all.

  16. Raymond Reddington
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Yes, Raymond is the thought police. Do it because he knows what he wants all of us to read.

  17. Raymond R. Again
    Jan 10, 2017 at 3:09 am

    My guess is Raymond is referring to Petunia. I like Walter Map’s comments.

    • Petunia
      Jan 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      Liberals love censorship because they can’t defend their positions.

      • walter map
        Jan 10, 2017 at 5:03 pm

        “Liberals love censorship because they can’t defend their positions.”

        Not that you can come up with any examples. Censorship has always been a conservative thing.

        Discrediting right-wing disinformation isn’t censorship, so no, Iraq really didn’t have any WMDs when Dubya invaded, but you can believe anything you like.

  18. Thorny Rose
    Jan 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Some Trump butt kissing LOL. How funny. Anything to appease the New Supreme Leader. Billionaire and Trump should never be in the same sentence. He’s hardly a player other than major tax write-offs using other people’s money. He is a phony billionaire who is a brand rather than a creator of anything substantial.

    He’s fun to watch though and his tweets are entertaining but of little value much like his advice on anything business related outside of Bankruptcy Court. If he had any business sense he’d buy whats left of Sears and save to make MURICA great again…but he simply does not possess such a skill set. Chump that he is

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