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The $2.5 Trillion Photo: China's President Xi Jinping Meets With Heads Of Apple, Amazon, And More

Forbes logo Forbes 25-09-2015 Liyan Chen, Forbes Staff

Xi photo getty© China’s President Xi Jinping with top U.S. and Chinese tech executives in Seattle (Credit: The Assoc... Xi photo getty

A picture is worth a thousand words. In the first official U.S. visit of China’s President Xi Jinping this week, nothing speaks louder than one single photo on China’s hopes for its high-tech diplomacy.

On Wednesday, President Xi toured Microsoft during the 8th U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum in Seattle. After discussing a wide range of issues such as intellectual-property protection and Internet governance, Xi and 30 top China and U.S. executives posed for a group photo — in which Forbes counts a total market cap for all represented companies of $2.5 trillion.

© Forbes

In the first row, you can see the most powerful tech CEOs in both countries – the combined market cap of the companies they run amount to $2.1 trillion. Standing in the center is President Xi himself with host Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO. China’s powerful Internet czar Lu Wei stands next to Nadella, after which come two of the most familiar American tech CEOs, Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, flanking Tencent’s “Pony” Ma Huateng. To Xi’s right stands IBM’s Ginni Rometty (one of only two women, with Lisa Su, CEO of chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices), Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Cisco’s John Chambers, and JD.com’s Liu Qiangdong. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the first executive on the left, chatted with Xi in Mandarin as the president joined the lineup. “On a personal note, this was the first time I’ve ever spoken with a world leader entirely in a foreign language. I consider that a meaningful personal milestone,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “It was an honor to meet President Xi and other leaders.”

Other big names in the second and third rows include Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Cheng Wei of Uber competitor Didi-Kuaidi, Yahoo! Cofounder Jerry Yang, and AirBnB’s Brian Chesky.

But perhaps more interesting are the major tech CEOs who are missing in this photo. On top of the list is Google. Despite expressing the desire to do more business in China, Google’s new CEO Sundar Pichai wasn’t invited, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, given the uneasy relationship when the company pulled out from mainland China in 2010. Google cofounders and new Alphabet chiefs Larry Page and Sergey Brin were also nowhere to be found.

Among billion-dollar startups, neither Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel nor Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick were in the lineup. Kalanick’s lack of an invite must sting, since his biggest Chinese rival Cheng Wei snagged a spot as one of the youngest entrepreneurs. On the China side, executives of China’s two largest handset makers – Xiaomi’s Lei Jun and Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei, also surprisingly did not attend the forum. Baidu’s Robin Li missed the meeting, but sent President (and former Microsoft exec) Zhang Yaqin in his place.

Here are the executives in the photo:

First row:

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Liu Qiangdong (JD.com), John Chambers (Cisco), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Ginni Rometty (IBM), Chinese president Xi Jinping, Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Lu Wei (Chinese regulator, nicknamed the Internet Czar), Tim Cook (Apple), Pony Ma (Tencent), Jeff Bezos (Amazon)

Combined market cap: $2.1 trillion

Second row:

Zhang Chaoyang (Sohu), Lisa Su (AMD), Yang Yuanqing (Lenovo), Harry Shum (Microsoft executive vice president), Steve Mollenkopf  (Qualcomm), Xiong Qunli (CETC), Brian Krzanich (Intel), Zhou Hongyi (Qihoo 360), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Cao Guowei (Sina)

Combined market cap: $266 billion

Third row:

Li Jun (Sugon), Cheng Wei (Didi Kuaidi), Tian Suning (Broadband Capital), Liu Liehong (CEC), Zhang Yaqin (Baidu), Jerry Yang (Yahoo! founder), Sun Pishu (Inspur), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) Shen Nanpeng (Sequoia Capital)

Combined market cap (or valuation): $78 billion

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