Ma met with US President-elect Donald Trump on Monday to discuss how the company could add US businesses to its platform. "We specifically talked about supporting 1 million small businesses, especially in the Midwest of America". To help the US' small businesses and farmers sell their diverse products to the huge Asian market is a way to help its overall economy and, in due course, to help it create and sustain jobs.
They also discussed the China-U.S. relationship, which should be "strengthened" and "more friendly", according to Ma.
Trump has criticized global trade and USA trade with China in particular, for the loss of jobs. "And we also think that China and United States of America relationship should be strengthened, should be more friendly and do better", said Ma. "They're going to do some wonderful things in this country".
Alibaba Group Holding Executive Chairman Jack Ma Yun's meeting Monday with incoming U.S. President Donald Trump in NY was likely about more than just business, with the Chinese tycoon having played the role of unofficial diplomat for Beijing in the past. It does not plan to establish Alibaba operation centers that employ technology-savvy Americans.
"Getting into a trade war and tariff-slinging with the second largest economy in the world, especially one that is growing at a pace three times that of the USA economy, is not a smart move for either side", Jay Somaney concluded.
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Ma, Asia's richest man, had lauded Donal Trump as a "smart man - who will never neglect the relationship between China and America", in an interview a year ago. Alibaba, which has deep ties with the Chinese government, might want to soften the wrath of Trump in the coming years even as it lays out ambitious plans of expansion in the US.
The US Chamber of Commerce estimates trade with China already supports over 40 million jobs in the US.
Ma and Trump met at Trump Tower in New York City, with Trump calling it a "great meeting" and Ma saying the meeting was "very productive". "This, in turn, will help create American jobs and increase US exports". The outcome may be more complicated and yet it's telling that major foreign corporations have also been eager to get on board with the new economic reality that Trump has promised to create.
Alibaba stock was up 1.5% in early trading Monday following news of the meeting.