Alibaba co-founder warns a full-blown China trade war would really hurt the US stock market

An all-out trade war between the world’s two largest economies would hurt the U.S. stock market and thousands of American companies that do business in China, Alibaba co-founder Joseph Tsai told CNBC on Friday.

China buys about $ 200 billion in goods and services from the U.S., Tsai said on “Squawk on the Street,” estimating about 68,000 U.S. companies do business in China, generating about $ 600 billion in revenue and $ 40 billion in profits.

“If that all gets shut off, I think you’ll see that reflected in the stock market in the Unites States,” he argued, ahead of White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow shooting down a report that a China deal was in the works.

However, Kudlow said President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping do plan to meet at the G-20 summit later this month and discuss trade.

Thus far, the impasse between Washington and Beijing has seen both sides enacting import tariffs against each other, with Trump recently threatening levies on the rest China’s imports.

Despite the trade overhang, Alibaba’s Tsai said Chinese consumers are feeling pretty good. “We think the consumers are still fundamentally healthy because … over the last years, they have a lot of savings.”

“Where we see a little bit of, maybe, hesitation to move is in the consumer durables; heavy ticket items like cars and heavy consumer electronics,” he argued after the firm reported mixed quarterly results. “But we think that’s a cyclical thing.”

Before the bell on Friday, China-based Alibaba reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, another sign of slowing momentum for the e-commerce giant’s platforms and the Chinese economy.

Alibaba shares, under some pressure on Wall Street on Friday, has dropped about 12 percent for the year on concerns about the impact of the U.S.-China tariffs. Alibaba has a stock market value of around $ 380 billion.

Gil Luria, director of research at D.A. Davidson, recently told CNBC that Alibaba represents a “compelling investment in the Chinese consumer as the Chinese economy becomes ever more focused on consumption growth.”

“[But] if this conflict persists and exports from China to the U.S. diminish, the Chinese economy could slow, dampening consumption and thus putting Alibaba’s core business at risk,” Luria said.

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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