Stephen Harper courts Alibaba’s Jack Ma, opens 4 trades office in visit to China that so far is all business

Financial Post | Business

HANGZHOU, China — China’s wealthiest citizen told Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday that Alibaba, his e-commerce business, was seriously considering opening an office in Vancouver and hoped to sell 200,000 fresh Canadian lobsters online in a “single’s day” promotion next week.

“I don’t even know if you have that many lobsters in Canada,” Jack Ma, whose personal worth is estimated to be $25 billion, said to loud laughs.

An assistant said the actual goal was to sell 33,000 fresh Canadian lobsters next week.

All the numbers associated with Ma’s Internet businesses are staggering.

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Started in 1999 by the former high school English teacher, Alibaba Group and affiliated businesses has 600 million registered online buyers and is expected to handle about $270 billion in online transactions this year.

The prime minister and those traveling with him in China sat in wonder as they listened to Ma give…

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