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CNBC TRANSCRIPT: ALIBABA CEO JACK MA SPEAKS WITH CNBC’S ANDREW ROSS SORKIN TODAY

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, December 5, 2017

WHERE: CNBC's "Squawk Box" – in Shanghai, China

Following is a CNBC interview with Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz, and CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (M-F, 6-9AM ET) today, Tuesday December 5th. The interview is tied to Starbucks China’s expansion, including the launch of a new retail experience and partnership with Alibaba. Following are links to video from the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/05/alibaba-founder-jack-ma-china-isnt-stealing-jobs-its-creating-jobs.html, https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/05/starbucks-founder-howard-schultz-on-how-the-giant-coffee-chain-thrived-in-china.html, https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/12/05/alibaba-founder-jack-ma-we-believe-online-and-offline-retail-should-work-together.html.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

BECKY QUICK: ANYWAY, BRADY IS JUST ONE OF MANY BIG GUESTS THAT WE HAVE TODAY. ANOTHER ONE IS COMING UP RIGHT NOW. LET’S GET TO ANDREW IN SHANGHAI WHO HAS A VERY SPECIAL GUEST TOO. ANDREW.

ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: HEY GUYS. WE ARE LIVE IN SHANGHAI. WE ARE AT THE LARGEST STARBUCKS IN THE WORLD. THE GRAND OPENING PARTY HAPPENING RIGHT NOW BEHIND ME. HOWARD SCHULTZ IS HERE ALONG WITH HIS FAMILY. ALL SORTS OF CHINESE BUSINESS LUMINARIES HAVE BEEN WITH US ALL MORNING. ONE OF WHOM IS JACK MA OF ALIBABA. WE SAT DOWN WITH HIM AND HOWARD SCHULTZ, THE OTHER NOW, I BEGAN THE CONVERSATION BY ASKING HIM AND HOWARD WHY SO MANY AMERICAN COMPANIES WHO COME HERE – IT FAILS ALL TOO OFTEN, BUT AT LEAST FOR STARBUCKS RIGHT NOW, THEY’VE MADE IT WORK.

HOWARD SCHULTZ: WE'VE BEEN HERE 18 YEARS, AND MANY PEOPLE DONT REALIZE THE FIRST NINE YEARS WE WERE NOT VERY SUCCESSFUL. AND SO THERE WAS A LOT OF PRESSURE ON US EARLY ON TO KIND OF CLOSE THE TENT AND SAY ITS NOT GOING TO WORK. I THINK WE HAD TO HAVE PATIENCE, AND WE HAD TO HAVE A DEEP COMMITMENT TO BEING LOCALLY RELEVANT AND UNDERSTANDING THE CONSUMER. BUT, AND, I DON’T WANT TO EMBARRASS JACK, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO HAVE FRIENDS HERE WHO CAN HELP YOU KIND OF NAVIGATE THROUGH SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND, AND, YOU KNOW, JACK AND I HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER. I SAID THIS THE OTHER DAY. I KNEW JACK BEFORE HE WAS JACK. AND WE’VE HAD GREAT CONVERSATOIONS ABOUT BUILIDNG A GREAT COMPANY, WHETHER YOU’RE BUILDING IT IN THE U.S. OR CHINA. AND I THINK THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE ARE ACTUALLY MORE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN US THAN DIFFERENCES, AND THE CONSUMER, ALTHOUGH IT IS A CHINESE CONSUMER THAT DID NOT KNOW MUCH ABOUT COFFEE, DID UNDERSTAND CUSTOMER SERVICE, DID UNDERSTAND A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO BE, AND I THINK ALSO BUILDING THE KIND OF COMPANY THAT WOULD BE VALUES-BASED AND THE CULTURE OF THE COMPANY IN WHICH WE CAN PUT PEOPLE FIRST. AND I THINK THAT GAVE US A LEG UP. WE DIDN’T COME HERE TO TAKE ANYTHING. WE CAME HERE TO GIVE BACK.

SORKIN: WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS, AND A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES IN THE U.S. HAVE TRIED TO COME HERE UNSUCCESSFULLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS GONE ON?

JACK MA: I THINK MOST OF THE TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES COME TO CHINA TO LEARN FROM STARBUCKS. FIRST, OUR HEART FOR THE CUSTOMER, FOR THE MARKET – WE LOVE THE PEOPLE, WE LOVE THE MARKET. SECOND, YOU SHOULD HAVE A GREAT TEAM, THEY HAVE A PATIENCE. AND THIRD IS THE PATIENCE. I’M DOING THIS FOR 10, 20 YEARS. AND THAT’S A GREAT PRODUCT. I WAS AMAZED BY STARBUCKS BECAUSE CHINESE PEOPLE DON’T DRINK COFFEE. WE DRINK TEA. I DON’T LIKE COFFEE. I LIKE TEA. BUT I LIKE STARBUCKS.

SORKIN: YOU’RE DRINKING IT, YOU’RE DRINKING COFFEE NOW.

JACK MA: COMING HERE. I RESPECT. I LIKE. I TOLD MY WIFE, “I DON’T LIKE COFFEE, BUT I LIKE STARBUCKS.” BECAUSE THE REASON IS THAT I MET HIM FIRST TIME. I THINK WE DISCUSSED LONG. I LISTENED TO HIS TALK. AND WE DISCUSSED ONLY ABOUT THE VALUE, VISION, MISSION. AND THEN I TOLD MY TEAM IN THE PAST YEARS A LOT OF THE TIME MAKING STARBUCKS, A UNIQUE SAMPLE. EVERYBODY DRINK COFFEE IN THE WORLD, ALSO IN CHINA ESPECIALLY. NOBODY THOUGHT COFFEE COULD BE BUSINESS THAT WOULD BE A GLOBAL COMPANY. SERVE PEOPLE WITH HEART, NOT COFFEE. THAT’S WHAT WE DO.

SORKIN: TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON IN RETAIL HERE IN CHINA. YOU JUST HAD YOUR SINGLE’S DAY, BIGGEST EVER, AGAINST $25 BILLION DAY. THAT’S BEEN MOSTLY ONLINE DAY.

MA: YEAH.

SORKIN: BUT YOU GUYS ARE GETTING INTO THE BRICKS AND MORTAR SPACE.

MA: YEAH.

SORKIN: AS WELL.

MA: YEAH. WE’VE BEEN MOVING VERY AGGRESSIVELY. IN THE FOUR YEARS – FOUR YEARS AGO WHEN WE GROW SO FAST AND WE GOT A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT TRADITIONAL RETAILERS SAYING, “HEY, E-COMMERCE TAKES AWAY ALL OF OUR JOBS, ALL OF OUR BUSINESS.” SO WE ASKED OURSELVES, ARE WE WANTING TO SERVE OUR CUSTOMERS OR ARE WE WANT TO KILL ALL THE RETAIL, TRADITIONAL RETAIL. WE THINK WE SHOULD WORK TOGETHER. WE BELIEVE ONLINE AND OFFLINE SHOULD WORK TOGETHER. WITH THE DATA, WITH THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, WE THINK RETAIL -- TRADITIONAL RETAIL, HAS HUGE POTENTIAL IF WE DO IT PROPERLY, IF WE WORK TOGETHER. BUT THAT IS WHY WE’RE GOING AGGRESSIVELY IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS.

SORKIN: HE JUST GAVE UP ON ON-LINE RETAIL, AT LEASTDOING IT HIMSELF. HE HAS HANDED OVER SOME DEGREE TO AMAZON, AND AMAZON JUST CAME TO CHINA. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?

MA: AMAZON COMES TO CHINA. THEY’VE BEEN HERE FOR ALMOST 15, 20 YEARS. BUT YOU DO NOT SEE THEM HERE ANYWHERE.

SORKIN: BECAUSE?

MA: BECAUSE I DON’T THINK THEY DO PROPERLY HERE. IT’S THE MARKET – MAYBE 10 YEARS AMAZON BECOMES BIG AGAIN, I MEAN, IN CHINA. BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE PATIENCE, GREAT PEOPLE, GOOD SERVICES. AND I THINK WE’RE WORKING TOGETHER ONLINE AND STARBUCKS HAS -- PRESENTS A SHOP ON TMALL – AND THEY ARE USING ALIPAY. WE’RE WORKING SO CLOSELY.

HOWARD SCHULTZ: SO, YOU KNOW, THE ROASTERY OFFICIALLY OPEN TOMORROW. I’LL GIVE YOU A STATISTIC THEY GAVE ME AN HOUR AGO. WE SOLD ALMOST $2 MILLION OF MERCHANDISE AND COFFEE THROUGH ALIBABA IN THE LAST 48 HOURS. THE STORE HASN’T OPENED YET. IT’S INCREDIBLE. AND THE OTHER THING IS YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE TECHNOLOGY IN THE STORE IS BEING POWERED BY ALIBABA, SO THE PARTNERSHIP THAT WE’RE ESTABLISHING HERE IN CHINA IS JUST IN ITS EARLY STAGES OF WHAT WE CAN DO TOGETHER.

SORKIN: HOW DO YOU THINK ABOUT U.S. AND CHINA RELATIONS THESE DAYS AND HOW IT RELATES TO YOU DOING BUSINESS HERE AND YOU DOING BUSINESS IN THE U.S.? WE HAVE TWO LEADERS, BUT ONE OF THEM TALKS ABOUT AMERICA FIRST, AND PRESIDENT XI TO SOME EXTENT MAY BE TALKING ABOUT CHINA FIRST. THOUGH, OPENING AS WELL.

MA: I DID NOT SEE THE PRESIDENT XI SAY CHINA FIRST. PRESIDENT XI THINKS A LOT ABOUT THE “ONE ROAD, ONE BELT,” AND BUSINESS SHOULD BE GROWTH TOGETHER, SHARED PROFIT TOGETHER.

MA: SO -- BUT DO YOU LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING EVEN IN THE CONVERSATIONS AND THE OVERHANG OF THE CONVERSATION AROUND NORTH KOREA, FOR EXAMPLE AND HOW THAT COULD AFFECT YOU BEING HERE AND YOU DOING MORE? I KNOW YOU’RE TRYING TO DO MORE AND MORE BUSINESS IN THE U.S. AS WELL.

SCHULTZ: I THINK, ANDREW, UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL ISSUES THAT EXIST, I THINK THERE’S A POSSIBILITY THAT COMPANIES THAT HAVE A SHARED LEVEL OF VALUES AROUND SENSE OF HUMANITY - SO YOU CAN TAKE ALIBABA AND YOU TAKE STARBACKS, A CHINESE COMPANY AND AN AMERICAN COMPANY. PERHAPS WE CAN DEMONSTRATE THE KIND OF COOPERATION AND KIND OF TRUST AND BUILD A BRIDGE BETWEEN OUR TWO COMPANIES THAT PERHAPS THE POLITICIANS CANNOT DO AT THIS TIME, AND DEMONSTRATE TO AMERICA AND TO CHINA THAT WE ARE MUCH MORE THE SAME THAN WE ARE DIFFERENT. AND WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT.

SORKIN: CAN YOU DO THAT, THOUGH, IF -- IF THERE IS DISAGREEMENT AMONG THE COUNTRIES OVER THINGS LIKE NORTH KOREA?

MA: YES, OF COURSE, WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO IT. I THINK IF POLITICIANS AGREE— GREAT. IF THEY DO NOT AGREE – BUSINESS STILL HAS TO GO ON, TRADE HAS TO GO ON. NOBODY CAN STOP THE BUSINESS, NOBODY CAN STOP TRADE. NOBODY CAN STOP THE COOPERATION BETWEEN THE BUSINESS. SO THIS IS WHAT WE THINK, AND THEY ARE SO GREAT ON THE OFFLINE, WE ARE SO GOOD ON THE ON THE ONLINE, THEY ARE SO GOOD IN THE STATES, WE ARE SO GOOD IN CHINA. WE SHOULD SET AN EXAMPLE OF HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER. THAT IMPROVING THE RELATIONSHIP, THE STRENGTHENING OF THE RELATIONSHIP, THIS IS WHAT WE THINK. BY WORKING TOGETHER, THE TWO COUNTRIES CAN DO IT A LOT.

SORKIN: DO YOU HAVE A TAKE ON NORTH KOREA? I KNOW YOU’RE SPONSORING, BY THE WAY, THE OLYMPICS THIS YEAR. I’M GOING TO BE IN SOUTH KOREA. YOU’RE GOING TO BE THERE AS WELL. AND IT’S GOING TO BE A BIG CONVERSATION THERE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN NORTH KOREA.

MA: YEAH. IT’S TOO COMPLICATED TO ME. I HAVE ENOUGH HEADACHE IN MY BUSINESS, I THINK WHEN I HEAR THAT NORTH KOREA, SAY, “OH, MY GOD, NORTH KOREA DID THIS, RUSSIA DID THIS, AND CHINA DID THIS, AMERICANS DID THIS.” LEAVE THE JOB FOR PRESIDENT XI AND DONALD TRUMP, BECAUSE I’M FOCUSING ON MY BUSINESS.

SORKIN: OK, LET ME ASK YOU ONE QUESTION. LAST TIME I SAW YOU IN DAVOS, YOU SAID SOMETHING VERY PROVOCATIVE. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAD TALKED AT ONE POINT ABOUT THE U.S. -- OR, RATHER, CHINA STEALING JOBS FROM THE U.S. AND YOU SAID THAT WAS THE STRATEGY BY – THAT WAS THE STRATEGY BY THE LEADERS OF THE U.S. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TRIED TO CHANGE THAT. I’M CURIOUS IF YOU THINK HE’S BEEN SUCCESSFUL, WE HAVE TAX POLICY THAT HE’S TRYING TO PUT THROUGH, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES?

MA: WELL I THINK AMERICANS ALSO SHOULD HAVE PATIENCE. MAYBE YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH HIM. WHEN HE SAID, “I WANT TO DO THIS,” HE HAS BEEN PRESIDENT ONLY ONE YEAR OR SOMETHING, HE CAN NEVER GET – ACHIEVE SOMETHING WITHIN ONE YEAR. AT LEAST HE’S TRYING. AND FOR ME, I THINK THE CHINA IS NOT STEALING JOBS. WE ARE CREATING A LOT OF JOBS. A LOT OF COMPANIES SUCCEED IN CHINA. STARBUCKS DID IT EXCELLENT IN CHINA. MICROSOFT DID EXCELLENT IN CHINA. IBM DID EXCELLENT IN CHINA. AND WE DO NOT SEE A LOT OF CHINA’S COMPANIES DO EXCELLENT IN THE STATES. SO WE SHOULD WORK TOGETHER.

SORKIN: WHEN YOU HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH GOVERNMENT HERE, HOW MUCH DO THEY TALK ABOUT TRUMP WITH YOU?

SCHULTZ: THERE’S A CONSTANT THEME ABOUT ASKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENT. AND I HAVE – I HAVE ONE STATEMENT THAT I CONSISTENTLY REPEAT, AND THAT IS: “I’M NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT POLITICS, AND I’M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO CRITICIZE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES ON FOREIGN SOIL.”

SORKIN: FAIR ENOUGH. BACK THERE WHEN YOU BUY COFFEE, YOU CAN PAY WITH ALIPAY, BUT YOU CAN ALSO PAY WITH WECHAT, WHICH HAS BEEN GROWING IN ITS MARKET SHARE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO STOP THAT?

MA: WHY SHOULD I STOP THEM? FIRST, IF THERE IS ONLY ONE ALIPAY, ALIPAY -PAY CANNOT GROW THAT FAST. WHEN THERE IS FAIR COMPETITION, GROW FAST. NO MATTER HOW FAST IT GROWS, WE’RE STILL BIGGER, WE’RE STILL BETTER. SO WE HAVE A FAIR, HEALTHY COMPETITION. IT IS GOOD. AND WE DON’T WANT TO BE LONELY TO TALK TO THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE WE’RE THE ONLY ONE IF THERE’S TWO OR THREE, THEN WE HAVE THE RIGHT POLICY.

SORKIN: TALKING ABOUT CURRENCY— THE TOPIC IS BACK IN THE U.S., I THINK HERE AS WELL, IS BITCOIN. AND WHAT SOME PEOPLE THINK OF AS THE MODERN, LIKE, TULLIP BUBBLE, OR IS IT A BUBBLE? AND I WAS CURIOUS, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU ARE GOING TO ACCEPT BITCOIN, DO EITHER OF YOU HAVE A TAKE ON WHETHER WE’RE IN A BUBBLE? OTHER PEOPLE HAVE CALLED IT A FRAUD. JAIME DIMON SAYS IT’S A RIDICULOUS THING.

SCHULTZ: I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT MYSELF. I’M JUST TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THIS COFFEE BUSINESS.

MA: I HAD THIS – JUST TWO DAYS AGO AT THE WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE PEOPLE ASKED ME WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT? I SAY, “HONESTLY, I KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT IT, AND I AM TOTALLY CONFUSED,: AND EVEN IF IT WORKS, THE WHOLE INTERNATIONAL RULES AND LAWS ON TRADE ON FINANCE IS GOING TO COMPLETELY CHANGE. I DON’T THINK WE ARE READY FOR THAT. SO I THINK I’M FOCUSSING ON THE ALIPAY AND FOCUSED ON IMB, U.S. DOLLARS AND EUROS, AND THAT’S FAIR.

SORKIN: NOT YET.

MA: NO.

SORKIN: DO YOU SEE A DAY WHERE YOU COULD?

MA: WE HAVE A TEAM SPECIFICALLY TO STUDY THAT AND ALSO WE HAVE A TEAM BLOCK CHAIN TECHNOLOGY. WE’VE SPENT A LOT OF EFFORTS ON BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY AT ALIBABA, BUT BITCOIN, I SAY NOT FOR ME. I DON’T KNOW.

SCHULTZ: I CAN SEE A POINT IN TIME WHERE STARBUCKS BECOMES A CASHLESS RETAILER. AND I THINK THAT TIME IS NEARER THAN YOU THINK.

MA: LET ME SAY ONE THING. WE ARE NOT FOCUSED ON BITCOIN. WE ARE FOCUSED ON CASH SOCIETY FOR CHINA, AND EVERY COUNTRY WE’VE GOT. TRYING TO MAKE SURE THE SOCIETY IS MORE EFFICIENT, MORE TRANSPARENT, NO CORRUPTION THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

SORKIN: I HAVE TWO FINAL QUESTIONS, AND I’M GOING TO EMBARRASS YOU WITH ONE OF THEM THERE’S A LOT OF SPECULATION IN THE UNITED STATES THAT THIS GENTLEMAN MAY ONE DAY RUN FOR PRESIDENT OR SHOULD RUN FOR PRESIDENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?

MA: I THINK HE SHOULD.

SCHULTZ: BE CAREFUL HERE.

MA: I RESPECT HIM A LOT HE IS A GREAT VALUE, VISION, AND IS VERY PARANOID FOR THE FUTURE. ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU CAN CHANGE. SEE THIS THING VERY -- I SEE SO MANY RETAILERS COMPLAIN ABOUT NEW TECHNOLOGY, AND THEY HATE TECHNOLOGY, THEY STOP, THEY JUST COMPLAIN. BUT HE IS CHANGING IT. I THINK THIS IS WHAT A COUNTRY LEADER SHOULD HAVE.

SORKIN: FINAL QUESTION, WE’VE BEEN WATCHING YOU DANCING LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON, CREATING MOVIES. WHAT’S NEXT, OUTSIDE OF – DOING MAGIC SHOWS – OUTSIDE OF RUNNING ALIBABA.

MA: WELL I – I TRY TO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE THERE ARE THREE JACK MA. FIRST JACK IS, AH, HE IS GREAT, HE IS NOT GOOD. THIS IS PEOPLE’S IMAGINATION. SECOND JACK MA IS JACK MA, THE CEO AND FOUNDER OF ALIBABA GROUP. AND THIRD JACK MA IS MY REAL PERSON. I LOVE TO SING. I LOVE TO DANCE. I HAVE FUN. I LIKE WALKING AROUND THE STREETS. I’M THE THING YOU SEE – I’M MYSELF. MY REAL JACK MA COMING AROUND THESE DAYS.

SCHULTZ: I HAVE A FOURTH JACK MA. I’VE KNOWN JACK A LONG TIME, AND JACK OBVIOUSLY HAS BECOME EXTRAORDINARILY SUCCESSFUL AND INFLUENTIAL IN CHINA AND AROUND THE WORLD. THE FOURTH JACK MA, THE CORE JACK MA, IS A MAN OF HUMILITY, A HUMBLE PERSON, AND THAT’S WHY I THINK I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR HIM. HE HAS NOT CHANGED AT ALL.

SORKIN: HEY, GUYS. WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME, TOUCHED A LOT OF TOPICS. WE’RE GOING TO BRING YOU A LOT MORE NEWS HERE IN SHANGHAI FROM THE OPENING OF THE NEW STARBUCKS ROASTERY. WHEN WE COME BACK IN JUST A LITTLE BIT, WE ARE GOING TO INTRODUCE YOU TO A MAN THAT IS BEING REFERRED TO AS THE WARREN BUFFETT OF CHINA. PERHAPS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL INVESTOR IN CHINA. OWNS PIECES OF JUST ABOUT EVERY MAJOR CHINESE COMPANY AROUND. WE’RE GOING TO COME BACK WITH HIM IN JUST A LITTLE BIT FROM THE CAPITAL OF CHINA. I’M GOING TO SEND IT BACK TO YOU FOR NOW.

JOE KERNEN: ANDREW, WE LOOK FORWARD TO THAT. COMING UP, WE’LL HEAR ALSO FROM STARBUCKS CEO KEVIN JOHNSON AND STARBUCKS CHINA CEO BELINDA WONG ON THE COMPANY’S EXPANSION IN ASIA. THEN AT 7:30 CVS IS BUYING AETNA, AS YOU KNOW, IN A MOVE THAT WILL ARGUABLY CHANGE THE FACE OF THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY. FORMER AETNA CHAIRMAN CEO, RON WILLIAMS, WILL JOIN US TO DISCUSS WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT IT. YOU’RE WATCHING "SQUAWK BOX" ON CNBC.

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