In a serious warning to the leaders of the nations who are at loggerheads with each other over trade tensions, the co-founder and executive chair of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA), Jack Ma, has said that the ongoing trade frictions between America and China could last for two decades. Citing weak trade rules, he further added that it would be “a mess” for all parties involved and is likely to go on for "maybe 20 years," according to Reuters. (See also, Jack Ma's Success Story.)

Ma expressed his thoughts while speaking at the Alibaba investor conference in Hangzhou shortly after the Trump-led U.S. administration announced impositions of duty tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports and China announcing retaliatory measures on import of U.S. products.

Global Business Outlook Looks Dim in Short-to-Medium Term

Highlighting that many Chinese- U.S- and even other countries-based businesses will be hit negatively and instantly, he predicts that Chinese enterprises would be forced to relocate to other nations as a short-term measure to circumvent the problem. Ma expressed need for “new trade rules” over the long-term. He also acknowledged that the ongoing trade war with China's largest trade partner is hurting Alibaba's business, according to CNNMoney. (For more, see Alibaba Faces More Declines as Trade War Heats Up.)

Ma believes that a change of leadership may not solve the problem. “Even if Donald Trump retired, the new president will come, it will still continue...We need new trade rules, we need to upgrade the WTO,” he said, referring to the World Trade Organization.

Ma said that the U.S.-initiated trade war is "against China," and also disapproved his country's policies requesting the leaders to open up the market and seize the situation as an opportunity to upgrade. "China must open the market," he added. (See also, Why Alibaba's Stock Can Soar 44% Despite a Trade War.)

“We should not focus on this quarter or next quarter or next year’s profit. This is a huge opportunity,” he said. “If Alibaba cannot sustain and grow, no company in China can grow. I’m 100 percent confident in that.”

The Chinese icon of innovation had promised creating around 1 million jobs in the U.S. through the year 2021 during his meeting with president Trump last year.

The billionaire has announced his retirement within a year and will pass on the company reins to chief executive Daniel Zhang. (For more, see Alibaba's Jack Ma to Step Down in a Year.)