After a high-profile meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group apologized on Jan. 10 for posting on Twitter an illustration with inaccurate maps of both China and the U.S. On the map of China, neither Taiwan nor the South China Sea islands were marked.
The illustration was posted on Alibaba’s official Twitter account to explain the trade opportunities between small businesses in the U.S. and customers in China. However, the maps soon drew criticism for excluding Alaska and Hawaii on the U.S. side, and Taiwan and the South China Sea islands on the Chinese side.
“We apologize for making this rookie mistake,” stated the group on its official Sina Weibo. “We offer no excuse for this mistake, but will make an immediate rectification. We hereby offer our deepest apologies.” The same day, the original illustration was replaced by a new and corrected version.
Ma met with Trump in New York on Jan. 9 to discuss how Alibaba, as an e-commerce giant, can create more jobs by helping U.S. businesses to sell products to China. This was the first meeting between the U.S. president-elect and a high-profile Chinese businessperson. It followed a barrage of tough rhetoric from Trump on China, including threats to impose a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods and the selection of China critics for important positions in the administration, according to the Global Times.