Where is Jack Ma, the richest man in China?
Shanghai / Beijing Founder of the e-commerce giant Ali Baba And the richest man in China thanks to his $ 65.6 billion fortune, Jack Ma has not appeared in public since late October 2020, weeks during which the relationship between Beijing and the bloc he created has deteriorated.
In recent weeks, the international press has speculated about the whereabouts of something – even using the term “disappeared” – while official Chinese media have observed a coordinated silence that coincides with information on alleged orders from Beijing not to give media coverage to the investigation. Recently opened an antitrust antitrust against Alibaba.
However, Sources familiar with the situation explained to Efe today that what he is trying to keep is “out of sight” and that he is “fine,” while describing rumors that he has been detained or that the authorities have prevented him from leaving the country “is incorrect.”
In November, Ma did not participate in the jury for his TV show, “Business Heroes in Africa,” and was replaced by another CEO at Alibaba, which raised alarms given his apparent friction with the Chinese government in recent times.
In recent years, some of the most famous personalities in China have “disappeared” after committing crimes or disputes with the authorities, then reappear after months, as is the case for popular actress Fan Bingping, about whom nothing is known. For several months in 2018 following a tax evasion case.
However, what appears to be trying not to generate more fanfare in the face of the heavy hand of Beijing, which in November was forced to suspend the initial public offering of Ma’s fintech, Ant Group, which was set to be the largest operation of this type of story.
Whatever the case, Ma, the public figure who is not shy of cameras or microphones – recorded her kung fu movie and appeared on stage mimicking Michael Jackson during a company event – didn’t want to get out of the way. Rumors, neither Alibaba nor you officially did.
What both companies have done is issue several statements guaranteeing that their operations will remain normal and that they will cooperate with the authorities.
It must be remembered that he left the Alibaba presidency in 2019 – 20 years after its founding – and that he has no executive position in Ant, despite being a majority shareholder in it.
Meanwhile, on Chinese social networks such as the popular site Weibo, which is equivalent to Twitter, a large number of his followers ask the businessman known as “Professor Ma” for his professional background in teaching English, to give an idea of his whereabouts, while his critics describe him as ” My “capitalist” is “unscrupulous” and they insist he will “be punished”.
In the search engine Baidu – the Google equivalent – the predictions when typing Ma Yun (his name in Chinese) pass through “Jack Ma went to exile” or “Jack Ma sentenced to imprisonment” or “Jack Ma, disappeared”, indicating that speculation continues. Among the citizens of the Asian country.
Criticism and attempts to calm down
Before Ant’s failed initial public offering, Ma stirred a lot of controversy in China by giving a speech in which he vehemently criticized China’s strategy to reduce risks in the financial sector, stressing that “innovation always comes with risk” and that “the biggest risk is when you try to reduce risk to Zero “.
The richest man in China, who is also a member of the Communist Party (CCP), kept some lead against the traditional banks, which he said are run as “pawnshops” to defend the need for alternative financing channels such as those offered by Ant via its Alipay platform.
Days later, Chinese regulators called chief executives of Ma and Ant to separate and published a new, more restrictive regulation for “fintech”, something that led some experts to speculate that the businessman already knew the content of that new regulation and was trying to force a renegotiation of his terms from During public criticism, which is not very uncommon for a prominent figure in China.
In recent weeks, government press and senior officials in regulators have criticized these funding channels, asserting that financial innovation is a “double-edged sword” and that some companies in the sector, without directly targeting Ant, are operating “in violation of regulations under the banner of innovation, causing Massive financial and social risks. “
In the face of attacks from Beijing, Ant decided to lower credit limits for the youngest virtual card service users Huabei and Ma, according to The Wall Street Journal, and would offer authorities control over any of the company’s platforms “as long as the state needed them.”