Executive Chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma, arrived at Trump Tower Monday morning to discuss plans to create one million jobs in the U.S. over the next half decade, according to an Alibaba spokesperson.
Ma arrived along with Michael Evans, current president of Alibaba and former top level Goldman Sachs executive, according to the Transition Team pool report. The pair had a meeting with Trump that focused on the China-based e-commerce site’s massive U.S. expansion plans. Ma had much less to say than the Alibaba spokesperson, claiming that the Chinese firm had no specific number of jobs in mind, but rather the company has plans to invest in the American small business community.
Ma’s firm hasn’t always had the smoothest relationship with the U.S. The Chinese company faced investigation last year from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its accounting practices, and things haven’t panned out much better this year. Alibaba was blacklisted in the U.S. for counterfeit sales in December, further complicating the firm’s relationship with U.S. Immediately after the blacklisting, Alibaba started going after counterfeit sellers, in hopes to regain some footing in the lucrative U.S. marketplace.
“We had a great meeting, and a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world, and he loves this country, and he loves China.” Trump told reporters following the meeting. “Jack and I are going to do some great things.”
Ma did not have specific figures to cite as to the number of jobs his company plans to create in the U.S., but he did say that the company’s plans will work through the small business community. “We’re focused on small business,” Ma told reporters. “We also think that the China and USA relationship should be strengthened — should be more friendly,” Ma said. “The door is open for discussing the relationship and trade issues. I think the president-elect is very smart, he’s very open-minded to listen. I told him my ideas about how to improve trade, especially to improve small business, cross border trade.”
Ma’s colleague Evans knows Trump personally, and is likely the reason the two snagged a meeting with the president-elect.
If Ma and Evans can strike an agreement with Trump, Alibaba would be the latest in a slew of multinationals that have promised to bring jobs to the United States.
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