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Alibaba founder Jack Ma chats with Trump over 1M US jobs

Alibaba Group's Jack Ma hopes US-based small businesses will be able to sell products to its 300 million customers in China.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
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Jack Ma (R), founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, and President-elect Donald Trump talked about creating 1 million US jobs at Trump Tower.


Donald Trump met with the founder of China's "bigly" online retailer on Monday to talk jobs and small businesses.

Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba Group, visited the president-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan to discuss the Chinese company's plans to create 1 million jobs in the US over the next five years. With a stronghold on China's e-retail market, Alibaba has plans to expand its presence in the US.

Ma told reporters at the hotel's lobby the two focused on small businesses, especially in the agriculture industry. The Alibaba Group tweeted after the meeting that it wants to connect US companies and farmers to more than 300 million middle-class customers in China. Alibaba is looking to focus on garments, wine and fruits from the Midwest, Ma said.

"We had a great meeting, and (he's) a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world," Trump told reporters. "Jack and I are going to do some great things."

Trump has had a shaky relationship with China, with experts speculating he was "picking a fight" with the nation after winning the election. He's also criticized the country's economic and military policies on his Twitter, frustrating Chinese officials.

Alibaba has also recently been at odds with the US government. Last year, the Office of the US Trade Representative put the company's Taobao website back on its list of "notorious markets" that sells counterfeit goods.

Alibaba hopes small businesses in the US will be allowed to sell products on its platform. The site had 8 million active sellers in 2013, with a consumer-to-consumer marketplace like eBay.

Ma isn't the only retail giant Trump has met with. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos attended the president-elect's tech summit in December and said the meeting was "very productive."