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Jack Ma meets old friend in Detroit after 4 decades apart

By Du Xiaofei (People's Daily Online)    16:23, June 22, 2017

Jack Ma (R) and Bruce Thelen. /Ifeng News Photo

In 1980, Jack Ma acted as an English-speaking tour guide for an American visitor at Hangzhou's West Lake; four decades later the two met again on the sidelines of Alibaba’s Gateway ’17 conference in Detroit, Michigan.

Bruce Thelen waited with a welcome sign to pick up Jack Ma, founder and chairman of the e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, in the lounge of Detroit's Cobo Center. On the board was written: “Jack Ma, do you remember being my guide at West Lake in 1980?”

Jack Ma (R) and Bruce Thelen. /Ifeng News Photo

The pair exchanged warm hugs and greetings after nearly 40 years apart. Thelen joked that Ma’s English was better than it was when he was 16. Thelen added that Ma always struck him as an incredible young man who would do something to make a difference. At their reunion, Ma gave Thelen his business card and invited Thelen to visit Hangzhou again.

"I would be happy to provide you with another free tour,” the mogul joked.

Although the two hadn't seen each other for almost four decades, their undertakings seem connected in some cosmic way. Ma just delivered a speech to American entrepreneurs, encouraging them to capitalize on China's fast-growing consumer market. Thelen, meanwhile, is now a partner in the law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC, which provides placement to Chinese law students in the U.S. He also works for the East Michigan District Export Council under the U.S. Department of Commerce, helping small Michigan enterprises to go global.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hu Ximeng, Bianji)

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