Next year will be tough for China, distant future is bright – Alibaba’s Jack Ma

Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma © Kim Kyung-Hoon
Wednesday was Jack Ma’s day. His company Alibaba made a record $14.3 billion in sales on Singles’ Day. He rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange remotely from Beijing, and had time to talk about China's economy.

“I believe the next five to 15 months will be a tough time for China for various reasons, of course, one, the anti-corruption will definitely have some effect," Ma told CNBC.

However, according to Alibaba’s founder that doesn’t mean there will be a significant decline in the economy. Ma added that the seven percent growth target set by Xi Jinping’s government is still feasible.

Five to six percent growth may be enough if the country makes the right investments and focuses on quality over quantity, said Ma.

"We've got 300 million middle class people, and we believe in the next 15 years ... a half a billion people will be middle class, and the demand for high quality products, high quality services is huge," he said.

The next 15 years will be good for China, said Ma, but the sustainability is reachable only if the economy is “clear” and “transparent”.

The Singles' Day shopping event is the biggest in the world held on November 11, a day introduced in the 1990s to celebrate single life in China. Alibaba has been holding sales since 2009. Wednesday's $14.3 billion smashed last year’s total of $9.3 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV). China's Singles Day this year was more than double the e-commerce sales in US from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday combined.