President-elect Donald Trump has made China one of his primary punching bags during the 2016 campaign, blasting the country as a currency manipulator and threatening to impose high tariffs. But Thursday, a powerful Chinese executive reminded him how important China is to the U.S. economy — something Hollywood knows better than most.
At a kickoff event in Shenzhen, China for Singles’ Day — the holiday on “lonely” 11/11 that Alibaba has turned into the biggest online shopping day of the year — Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai was asked for his thoughts on the 45th President of the United States of America.
“China is going to be and already is the source of consumer demand and the source of capital for America,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was at the event. “So if you’re the American president, you have to pay a lot of attention to that because your job is to create a lot of jobs in American society. And if you don’t have Chinese consumers being engaged and buying American products, and Chinese investors can’t invest in the United States, and create more American jobs, then you’d be in trouble.”
Hillary Clinton superfan Katy Perry, who was supposed to perform at the event, pulled out at the last minute citing a family emergency.
Chinese companies — especially the Dalian Wanda Group — have been scooping up Hollywood assets from Legendary Entertainment to Dick Clark Productions. Most studios now have co-financing arrangements with Chinese partners, and the Chinese audience is a major factor in determining which blockbusters get a green light.
Alibaba has opened an Alibaba Pictures office in Los Angeles and recently took a minority stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.