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Where is Jack Ma? Questions arise about the billionaire’s whereabouts as Alibaba faces scrutiny from the Chinese government

Jan 4, 2021, 14:08 IST
Business Insider India
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  • Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire currently under scrutiny by the government of China, has reportedly not been seen in public for several weeks.
  • Ma was scheduled to appear for the filming of his own talent show, Africa’s Business Heroes but was instead replaced by another Alibaba executive.
  • Alibaba and Ant Group, founded by Ma, are currently faced with an antitrust probe for alleged monopolistic practices.
Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire currently under scrutiny by the government of China, has reportedly not been seen in public for several weeks. This has led to speculations that Ma could be missing.
According to recent reports, Ma was scheduled to appear for the filming of his own talent show, Africa’s Business Heroes but was instead replaced by another Alibaba executive. The Chinese e-commerce giant told Financial Times that Ma couldn’t appear on the show due to a conflict in schedules.

Jack Ma’s whereabouts have come under questioning at a time when his companies - Alibaba and Ant Group have increasingly come under scrutiny in China. Alibaba and Ant Group, founded and guided by Ma, are currently faced with an antitrust probe for alleged monopolistic practices.
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Chinese regulators have ordered Ant Group to rehaul parts of its businesses and return to its ‘payments origin.’ R eports also indicate that Alibaba had earlier been warned by the regulators for its practice where “merchants are required to sign exclusive cooperation pacts preventing them from offering products on rival platforms.”

And that wasn’t all. Earlier in November 2020, Alibaba and Ant Group's $34 billion initial public offering (IPO) was suspended by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Ant Group, touted to be the world’s biggest IPO, was scheduled for a dual listing on November 5 — on Shanghai and Hong Kong bourses and it was halted in China with less than 48 hours to go.

Ma came under intense scrutiny after he publicly criticized the Chinese regulators and called the country’s banks “pawn shops”. “Mortgages and guarantees are for a pawnshop, but if we go to extremes in relying solely on collateral assets, certain enterprises will pledge all of their assets, and the pressure [for them] is enormous,” he had said in October, 2020.
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Ma, who once held the tag of wealthiest man in Asia, has seen his net worth tumble. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Ma has lost over $11 billion in the last three months – from the highs of $61 billion in October 2020 to $50.6 billion currently.

SEE ALSO:
From taking on Yahoo to being tamed by China’s Communist Party— it’s been a roller coaster decade for Jack Ma


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