Seeking to re-balance the trade equation between the US and China, President-elect Donald Trump met with Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma — one of the richest people on earth. Ma is the founder of Alibaba, the Amazon of the Far East, and he knows how to sell. Ma’s appearance at Trump Tower to meet with Trump is already helping to sell the idea of the next president as a financial innovator. Many questions remain about Ma’s pledge to help create “one million US jobs” by enabling mid-size US companies to reach the “300-million-strong Chinese middle class.” One of the largest is does the Chinese government agree with Ma’s intentions?
Trump fiercely criticized the current Chinese government’s protectionist trade policies during his campaign. Ma suggests that the desire for US goods in China is strong, and that his platform for third-party sellers will facilitate a swelling of US jobs despite the part-time animosity between the nations. Alibaba runs a business like Amazon’s, but also markets third party goods the way eBay does. The enormous Alibaba is like a mashup of eBay, Amazon, and Etsy — and is bigger than all of them. Trump said, “Jack and I are going to do some great things.”