Jack Ma, the founder and chief executive of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, met with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday despite a spat over the company's business practices and rising tensions between the two nations.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Ma wants his company to sell more U.S.-made goods in China, which could support some 1 million small businesses stateside. But the meeting came just days after U.S. trade officials accused Alibaba of "significant infringement of American businesses’ intellectual property rights."
Alibaba long came under criticism for its sales of counterfeit goods, and the company previously vowed to crack down on those practices. Last month, however, the U.S. Trade Representative added Alibaba to its list of marketplaces with phony products.
The Journal also noted that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the company's accounting practices. Alibaba responded that its numbers were accurate and that it was cooperating with the agency.
Ma particularly touted the potential of selling agricultural products during his meeting at Trump Tower, and the company subsequently said it hoped to convene a summit with thousands of U.S. companies in the Midwest.
“We think that China and U.S.A. relationship should be strengthened, should be more friendly,” Ma said, according to the Journal.
Alibaba's ambitions, however, depend on open trade between the two nations — a standard that Trump was openly hostile to during the presidential campaign. He accused China of stealing manufacturing jobs and, in the wake of his election, courted controversy with Beijing with regard to Taiwan.
After the meeting, the Journal reported that Trump simply said that, "Jack and I are going to do great things.”