Alibaba founder Jack Ma's visit to Trump Tower this week wasn't just the latest example of a foreign business leader cozying up to the president-elect.
Ma, whose Chinese online retailer is more valuable than all but 12 U.S. corporations, is perhaps the best known business executive in the country Donald Trump most frequently attacked during his campaign for taking advantage of unfair trade deals.
Ma smartly decided to pursue face time with Trump. And Ma came bearing a promise: to help create 1 million U.S. jobs by enabling small businesses to sell goods on Alibaba's prosperous e-commerce platform.
It played right into Trump's boisterous pledge to boost growth and get Americans working again (despite a nine-year low in unemployment).
But experts who have spent years tracking Alibaba and Chinese online commerce aren't buying Ma's pitch.
"Jack Ma is great at PR and Trump is a sucker for anybody who kisses his whatever," said Harley Lewin, a partner at New York law firm McCarter & English who has spent 40 years protecting brands and fighting infringement globally. "Ma is going to say that because those are the buzzwords that appeal to the incoming administration."