The head of China's second-biggest e-commerce company, JD.com, accused the United States of practising "serious" protectionism against Chinese firms.

Richard Liu said this would ultimately backfire on the world's largest economy.

"Many friends from other countries discuss protectionism in China but I think things have completely reversed," the JD.com Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Liu said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
           
"One day it will hurt the US economy too," said Liu, whose $67 billion online retailer competes with bigger rival Alibaba Group Holding.
           
The United States on Tuesday slapped steep import tariffs on washing machines and solar panels in moves billed as a way to protect American jobs by President Donald Trump. They sparked condemnations from China and South Korea.
           
The US government also recently rejected Chinese firm Ant Financial's plan to acquire US money transfer firm MoneyGram International over national security concerns, the most high-profile Chinese deal to be torpedoed under the Trump administration.
           
The US government has toughened its stance on the sale of American companies to Chinese entities, at a time of already tense trade ties, with Washington vowing to narrow a large trade deficit with China which reached $347 billion in 2016.
           
Liu said Nasdaq-listed JD.com not only wants to overtake Alibaba as the largest online retailer in China, but also become a global player. But like other Chinese CEOs, he said he had found it difficult to make forays into the US market.

US trade authorities are investigating whether there is a case for taking action over China's infringements of intellectual property, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, calling Beijing's 2025 technology strategy a "direct threat".
           
Action on intellectual property would open a new front in global trade battles involving the United States.

Ross dismissed concerns of a "gigantic" trade war, saying Washington simply wanted a level playing field and was still open to trade talks with the European Union.