How Jack Ma Is Selling Jobs to Trump

January 9, 2017, 7:11 PM UTC

Billionaire entrepreneur and Alibaba founder Jack Ma met with President-elect Donald Trump in New York Monday to discuss adding 1 million jobs in the U.S. by giving American entrepreneurs the know-how necessary to sell into China.

The lynchpin behind Ma’s plan is of course Alibaba. The $230 billion Chinese e-commerce platform could be used to help entrepreneurs and farmers in the U.S. sell to China’s middle class, which consists of more than 450 million people, the company said in a tweet:

The meeting is somewhat ironic given the president-elect’s criticism of China, which he has accused of being a currency manipulator and job stealer, and which he has threatened with massive trade tariffs.

Alibaba went public in the U.S. in 2014, raising $25 billion in what was then the largest IPO in history. One of its biggest shareholders is Japanese telecom giant Softbank, a company that Trump applauded in December for its decision to invest $50 billion and 50,000 jobs in the U.S.

Ma is credited with founding Alibaba in his Hangzhou apartment in 1999. The company reported $15.6 billion in total sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016.

Following their meeting at Trump Tower on Monday, Trump told reporters Ma is a “great, great entrepreneur” with whom he is “going to do some great things.”

Shares of Alibaba were up about 1% in afternoon trading.