Malaysian leader tours Alibaba, meets Jack Ma on China visit

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a meeting with Che Jun, the Communist Party chief of Zhejiang Province, in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. Mahathir is making a five-day visit to China at a time when ties between Beijing and the Southeast Asian nation are being tested by the Malaysian leader's suspension of multibillion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects. (Chinatopix via AP)

A Chinese state broadcaster says Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has met with Chinese billionaire Jack Ma at the start of his trip to China

BEIJING — Malaysia's leader courted Chinese e-commerce investment in his country on Saturday, the start of his first trip to China since his stunning electoral victory three months ago.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's visit to the world's second-largest economy is being watched for signs on the fate of multibillion-dollar Beijing-backed projects he's said he wants to cancel.

On Saturday, Mahathir toured the campus of Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba Group in the eastern city of Hangzhou, met with the company's founder, Jack Ma, and told the company's executives that Malaysia wants to explore ways to collaborate further with Alibaba, according to Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

He also visited Geely, which owns Geely Auto, one of China's biggest independent automakers. It owns 49.9 percent of Proton, a Malaysian automaker. On Sunday he will visit a Chinese drone company and meet with Malaysian businesspeople in Beijing.

Mahathir, a vocal critic of Beijing-backed investment in his country, has tested Malaysia's ties with China by suspending multibillion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects.

He's expected to attempt to renegotiate the terms of the projects during his meetings with Chinese officials. He will hold talks with Chinese leaders including Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping on Monday.

Days before heading to Beijing, Mahathir said Malaysia doesn't need a Chinese-backed $20 billion East Coast Rail Link and two energy pipelines worth $2.3 billion. The projects have been suspended pending renegotiation.

Malaysia's new government has called for drastic cuts to the projects' ballooning cost, which it estimates at more than $22 billion. Some of that money has already been paid and could be difficult to recoup.

China said Tuesday that Malaysia should handle any problems it has with the Chinese projects through talks.

The foreign ministry in Beijing defended China's projects in Malaysia, saying such deals have brought tangible benefits to the two countries.

"Any problems arising in the cooperation should be handled properly through friendly negotiation," the ministry said in a statement.

The projects are part of Xi's Belt and Road initiative to build ports, railways and other trade-related infrastructure across Asia, often built by Chinese contractors and financed by loans from Chinese state banks.

Belt and Road projects in Thailand, Sri Lanka and other countries have run into complaints they are too costly, give too little work to local companies or might facilitate embezzlement and other graft.

Related News

Britain's May hopes to assure Chinese over...

Sep 1, 2016

On her first visit to China as Britain's new prime minister, Theresa May will seek to reassure...

Asian stock markets muted ahead of key US job...

Sep 2, 2016

Asian markets were listless Friday as investors awaited key U.S. job data that could influence the...

Britain's May seeks out new trading relations...

Sep 4, 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she intends to seize new trading opportunities for a...

China promises cooperation on steel at global...

Sep 5, 2016

China promises cooperation on steel at global summit amid pressure for trade curbs

Merkel appeals to Russia to enable Syria...

Sep 5, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is renewing an appeal to Russia to enable a cease-fire in Syria and...

May says Britain still inspires confidence...

Sep 5, 2016

After meeting with other world leaders during the G-20 summit, British Prime Minister Theresa May...

About Us

Daily World Web took the initiative to utilize the development in cloud and AI technology to create a free, instantaneous and borderless flow of news, the way it should be.

Contact us: sales[at]

Subscribe Now!