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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump isn’t an emperor, or Jack Ma a lowly tributary. But in paying tribute to the incoming leader of the reigning superpower, Ma hopes to avoid the wrath of Trump Nation.

There’s no other way to describe Asian billionaires like Alibaba’s Ma — and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son before him — greasing the palms of an economy that could make life very difficult for overseas subjects. Ma’s pledge to create 1 million new U.S. jobs is all about currying Trump’s favor as his White House mulls a Chinese trade war.

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