In brief remarks to reporters, Ma, who in April became Asia’s richest man after an Alibaba affiliate raised a new financing round, said his meeting with Obama was “very good.”

An Alibaba representative confirmed Ma had a closed-door meeting at the White House that was not publicly listed in the president’s schedule. The two also had lunch together. The company declined to discuss the nature of their conversations.

In October, Obama and Ma shared a stage at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, where they discussed climate change and the role government and businesses can play in supporting entrepreneurs. “Government is simple—just reduce the tax, or no tax, for these guys,” Ma said to applause and laughter from the audience.

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