The inauguration of Donald Trump as newly elected POTUS is due in 10 days, and his recent meeting-slash-media op with Alibaba Group mogul Jack Ma at Trump Tower was possibly his way of giving the press (and the rest of us) a preview of what he plans to do from 20 January.
On Monday, Ma had a half an hour meeting with Trump, and according to the Wall Street Journal, spoke to the soon-to-be President about “[supporting] 1 million small businesses by selling more US goods, especially agricultural products from the Midwest, to China through Alibaba’s trading platform”.
In his trademark penchant of using the “g” word, Trump described the meeting as “great” to press waiting at the lobby, and introduced Ma as a “great, great entrepreneur – one of the best in our world”.
What also stood out, though, was the mention that the Chinese entrepreneur “loves this (the US) country and […] loves China”, which Ma echoed in his preceding statement.
Trump then sheds some light on his plans with Ma, albeit both losing their initial PR-perfect synchronisation when Ma mumbled “small business”, cutting into Trump’s mention of “great things”.
After which, Ma then quickly reiterated, “[We are just focusing] on small business.”
“We mainly talked about small business and young people, […] and we also think that China-USA relationship should be strengthened, should be more friendly and do better,” said Ma to the press, also mentioning that Trump was “smart” and “open-minded in listening [to his ideas]”.
The meeting wasn’t simply a discussion of plans, though, because according to a spokesperson, the Alibaba Group plans to hold a summit for 15-20,000 small businesses in the Midwest.
No details have been announced as of now.
Making America Great Again Involves China? (Well, At Least Alibaba)
In spite of Trump’s frosty attitude towards China during, and even after his campaign, it does seem like Ma’s Alibaba is a-okay with him.
Perhaps this is because of Ma’s stance towards the US, which looks more at collaboration as compared to conflict.
In an op-ed by Ma on the Wall Street Journal in 2015, he mentioned, “Our US strategy is simple and clear: We want to help US entrepreneurs, small business owners, and brands and companies of all sizes sell their goods to the growing Chinese consumer class.”
Unsurprisingly, this is probably music to Trump’s ears, whose campaign was mostly about his plans on protecting American jobs and businesses, a sore spot that his supporters felt intensely for.
With the addition of Alibaba into the mix, American merchants would have access to a platform that’s larger than eBay and Amazon combined, and also be able to sell their goods to the rapidly growing Chinese middle class.
How all of these plans would actually translate to a better reality for Americans remains to be seen, though.
Feature Image Credit: Business Insider