Where is Jack Ma? Famous Billionaire Not Seen In Months After Conflict With Chinese Government
Jack Ma’s last public appearance was in late October. Where is he now?
- The co-founder of Alibaba is suspected missing after not being seen in public for over two months.
- In late October, the Chinese billionaire fell out of favor with Beijing after criticizing national regulators.
- His sudden disappearance has sparked conspiracy theories.
On the 24th of October, Jack Ma delivered a controversial speech in Shanghai.
Over two months ago, the co-founder and chairman of Alibaba, criticized the Chinese regulation system by comparing the global banking rules to “an old people’s club”, Yahoo Finance reported. In his controversial speech, the Chinese billionaire claimed, “Today’s financial system is the legacy of the Industrial Age. We must set up a new one for the next generation and young people. We must reform the current system.” According to the Guardian, following his speech, Ma had “fallen out of favour with China’s leadership” as he had allegedly infuriated China’s president, Xi Jinping.
On the 31st of October, Jack Ma made his last public appearance.
Yahoo Finance further reported that the businessman has not been seen in over two months. In November, he failed to appear in the final episode of his show, Africa’s Business Heroes. The Telegraph wrote that another Alibaba executive had replaced him and that Ma’s photograph had also been removed from the show’s website. In addition to this, Ma failed to appear at the Shanghai Zhejiang chamber of commerce meeting where he has delivered a speech every year since 2016, reported The Guardian.
Recently, an antitrust investigation into Alibaba was opened and Ant Groups’ IPO was suspended.
Since Ma’s speech, Chinese regulators have launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba. Furthermore, Reuters reported that the October speech also resulted “in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.” While conspiracy theories have begun to circulate, many believe that the businessman is purposely avoiding the public. Speaking to VICE, Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics commented: “It is totally expected that after a very controversial public appearance, someone would lie low for a while. You don’t want to be in the public eye when your company is in a very complicated political situation.” Similarly, the chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA China, Duncan Clark said, “I think he’s been told to lay low. This is a pretty unique situation, more linked to the sheer scale of Ant and the sensitivities over financial regulation.”