Alibaba founder Jack Ma said Tuesday the Chinese e-commerce giant is confident that it will help support one million small U.S. businesses to sell to China and the rest of Asia through its network in the next five years.

“If we can help one million small businesses online and each business can create one job, we can create one million jobs,” said Ma, who added that “we are pretty knowledgeable on that.”

Ma made the remarks at Gateway’ 17, a conference held by Alibaba in Detroit. The conference, which is held on June 20-21, features presentations and breakout sessions aimed at educating attendees on what and how to sell to China, especially through e-commerce platforms, so that they can grow their businesses and go global.

Ma said Alibaba has been supporting small U.S. businesses to sell and buy online in the past 18 years. In California alone, the company has already helped create more than 20,000 jobs, according to Ma.

“At the time we had little experience, now we have a lot of experience,” he said.

The conference marks Alibaba’s official first step to introduce opportunities in China to U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ma said the company’s business strategy in the United States differs from that of Amazon or eBay.

“Our model is to bring American small businesses and farmers to China, (and) to Asia. Because we have a lot of middle class Chinese who need high quality products,” he said.

Asked about his opinion on globalization, Ma said he is a firm believer of it as well as free trade.

“In the past 20 years, globalization and free trade were designed for big companies and developed countries. In the next 30 years, we should make globalisation more inclusive to support small businesses, young people and farmers,” said Ma. (Xinhua)