(This post has been updated.)
He's one of China's wealthiest and most influential men, but when Alibaba founder Jack Ma visited the White House on Tuesday, there was far less fanfare than for President Xi Jinping's state visit last fall.
Reporters spotted Ma leaving the White House grounds with several aides and at least two security guards. Ma declined to comment other than to say his meetings went well. "Very good," he said, climbing into the back seat of a black sedan on 17th Street and State Place NW, next to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
After inquiries from reporters, a White House spokesperson confirmed that President Obama had lunch with Ma but offered no other details of their meeting. The lunch meeting was not listed on the president's public schedule.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted that Obama and Ma have shared a stage in Malaysia last November during the Asia Pacific Economic Summit, where the U.S. president interviewed China's second-richest man in front of a crowd of business executives.