On of the Asia’s richest person, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma is currently deepening the mystery about his whereabouts. According to reports, he has not been seen at any public event for the past two months. In fact, Jack Ma criticized the Chinese government on an issue in October last year. Jack Ma has not had a public appearance since then.
What Jack Ma said in October?
According to The Telegraph, the mystery about Jack Ma grew even more when he did not appear in the final episode of his talent show ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’. In this episode, an Alibaba official made his appearance in place of Ma. According to an Alibaba spokesperson, Ma did not participate in this episode due to his busy schedule. However, the mystery deepened after Ma’s photo was removed from the program’s website. Jack Ma had criticized China’s financial regulators and state-run banks in October 2020. He made this criticism in a speech in Shanghai.
Jack Ma had called on the government to make changes in the systems that suppress innovation efforts in business. After this speech of Ma, the ruling Communist Party of China was not happy with Ma. Since then, extraordinary restrictions have begun to be imposed on many businesses, including Ma’s Ant Group. Jack Ma, who is quite comfortable with the media, has not been able to register any public presence since the suspension of Ant Group’s IPO.
Earlier, in 2016 and 2017, many billionaires went missing during China’s infamous anti-corruption campaign. Some of these reappeared. They had said that they were helping the authorities. Whereas, the others never returned.
Investigations against Jack Ma
China’s top market regulator began an investigation against Alibaba in December last year after Jack Ma adopted an anti-incumbency stance, alleging his involvement in anti-competitive methods. Also prepared a reform plan for his Fintech venture Ant group. According to a report by TechCrunch, the Central Bank of China ‘People’s Bank of China’ called the Ant Group for talks on 26 December.
During this time, the Banking Authority laid a five-point compliance agenda for the Ant Group. Under the agenda, the Ant Group was ordered to bring more transparency in its transactions. The company is accused of using its position in the market to outmanoeuvre its rivals and harm the rights and interests of consumers. On the other hand, Ant Group says it has set up an internal reform workforce to meet all regulatory requirements.
The Xinhua News Agency was the first to report that various government agencies including The People’s Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission can call the ANT Group for questioning.
Alibaba holds a 33 percent stake in Ant Group. Last month, Ant Group applied to list $37 billion of IPOs on the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but was turned down by Chinese regulators.