(Bloomberg)—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman Jack Ma met with President-elect Donald Trump Monday and discussed plans to create 1 million new jobs in the U.S. by helping small businesses sell goods to China.
The meeting comes amid tensions between Alibaba’s home country and the incoming administration. Trump has called for high tariffs on trade with China, accused the country of stealing jobs from Americans and incited political controversy by reaching out to Taiwan. The e-commerce giant was recently put back on the U.S. “Notorious Markets” list, with its Taobao website cited as a haven for fake merchandise, suggesting it hasn’t done enough to fight counterfeits.
Still, the announcement of new jobs pleased Trump and he was quick to praise Ma, China’s richest man.
“Jack and I are going to do some great things together,” Trump said in the lobby of the Trump Tower after the meeting in New York.
Alibaba has a significant amount of business tied to trade in the U.S. and has outlined expansion plans in the country. The company’s goal is to be the main destination for connecting international retailers with Chinese consumers. The jobs pledged by Ma would come by letting more small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. sell to China through the company’s various e-commerce platforms, including Taobao, China’s biggest shopping site. Higher tariffs, were Trump to follow through, would depress demand for the AliExpress site, where Chinese retailers sell to U.S. consumers.
Alibaba shares rose 1.2% to $94.97 after news of the meeting emerged.
Trump’s meeting with Ma comes just a few weeks after he met with SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son. In that meeting, Trump took credit for a previously announced investment by SoftBank and 50,000 jobs that fund would help create in the U.S.
Several other companies, from IBM to Ford Motor Co., have also unveiled plans to create jobs in the country since Trump’s election, though some of the plans had been in the works before the election was decided.Favorite