Alibaba founder Jack Ma fired a shot at the United States in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Ma was asked by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin about the U.S. economy in relation to China, since President-elect Donald Trump has been talking about imposing new tariffs on Chinese imports.
Ma says blaming China for any economic issues in the U.S. is misguided. If America is looking to blame anyone, Ma said, it should blame itself.
“It’s not that other countries steal jobs from you guys,” Ma said. “It’s your strategy. Distribute the money and things in a proper way.”
He said the U.S. has wasted over $14 trillion in fighting wars over the past 30 years rather than investing in infrastructure at home.
To be sure, Ma is not the only critic of the costly U.S. policies of waging war against terrorism and other enemies outside the homeland. Still, Ma said this was the reason America’s economic growth had weakened, not China’s supposed theft of jobs.
In fact, Ma called outsourcing a “wonderful” and “perfect” strategy.
“The American multinational companies made millions and millions of dollars from globalization,” Ma said. “The past 30 years, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, they’ve made tens of millions — the profits they’ve made are much more than the four Chinese banks put together. … But where did the money go?”
He said the U.S. is not distributing, or investing, its money properly, and that’s why many people in the country feel wracked with economic anxiety. He said too much money flows to Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Instead, the country should be helping the Midwest, and Americans “not good in schooling,” too.
“You’re supposed to spend money on your own people,” Ma said. “Not everybody can pass Harvard, like me.” In a previous interview, Ma said he had been rejected by Harvard 10 times.
Along those lines, Ma stressed that globalization is a good thing, but it, too, “should be inclusive,” with the spoils not just going to the wealthy few.
“The world needs new leadership, but the new leadership is about working together,” Ma said. “As a business person, I want the world to share the prosperity together.”
— CNBC’s Anita Balakrishnan contributed to this report.