Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s executive chairman Jack Ma and President-elect Donald Trump met Monday at Trump Tower in New York in what is being described on both sides as a positive meeting. At the center of the discussion was agriculture in the U.S. Midwest; Chinese firms recently have been buying up farmland there.
Today’s talks centered on an idea to create 1 million new jobs in small business over the next half decade. Ma said after the meeting: “We think the China-U.S. relationship should be strengthened. Should be more friendly and do better.” He also said he believed the door was open now regarding trade issues between the countries, but said Trump did say he has concerns and some resolutions he wanted to discuss with China.
In speaking in the Trump Tower lobby in Manhattan, Ma and Trump both said the discussions were positive, and they appeared publicly to have a mutual respect for each other. Ma’s Alibaba has often been described in this country as a company as big as Amazon and Walmart combined.
All eyes are on how China-U.S. relations will be in the new Trump administration, where he has hand-picked trade officials with a jaundiced eye toward the Middle Kingdom. Alibaba, of course, has big plans in the U.S. Its Digital Media and Entertainment Group announced plans for a $7.2B investment in entertainment over the next three years. That was upped from their previously announced $1.5B investment.
Alibaba Pictures began making an investment in the industry in 2014 when it helped financially on Paramount/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. It upped the ante again with the studio’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows and Star Trek Beyond.
Last year, Alibaba took a minority equity stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners to co-produce and finance films for global and Chinese audiences. It also partnered with Harry Potter producer David Heyman on Warriors, a live-action film based on the hit series of young-adult novels.