Billionaire Jack Ma missing since attack on Chinese officials

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Founder of Tech giant Alibaba Jack Ma hasn’t been seen in public in over two months since he criticized Chinese regulators for suppressing the country’s tech innovation.
  • Days after, Chinese financial authorities began an antitrust investigation on Alibaba and even stopped Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Group’s stock debut, according to The Telegraph.
  • Since then, Ma was never seen again, even missing the final episode in his own TV show.

Following his controversial speech attacking Beijing finance officials, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been noticeably absent from the public eye for more than two months now, The Telegraph reported.

In his speech at a Shanghai conference in late October, Ma criticized China’s financial regulatory system, calling them an “old people’s club”, for being unfit to oversee Chinese tech innovation and also called for a change.

Shortly after, Chinese regulators opened an anti-monopoly investigation into Alibaba, Ma’s e-commerce giant, also known as the “Amazon of China”. Regulations were also introduced within days that suspended Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Group’s initial public offering of $37 billion.

Since his speech, The Telegraph noted that Ma has not appeared in public.

He even missed an appearance as a judge in the final of “Africa’s Business Heroes,” an Apprentice”-style TV talent show he founded, sparking speculations about his whereabouts, the UK’s Financial Times (FT) reported.

Of the final episode of the TV show which is yet to be aired in full, Ma was replaced by another Alibaba exec and his picture was also removed from the show’s judging webpage, the FT noted.

The outlet added though that an Alibaba spokesman said that a “schedule conflict” was the reason for Ma not showing up for the final.

“We do not have anything to add beyond that,” said the spokesperson, as told to the Business Insider.

Prior to the scandal, Ma had reportedly been China’s richest man whose worth was over $60 billion, according to Business Insider.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index however reported that as regulators focused on his business over the past two months, his net worth suffered a $12 billion loss, making him now the fourth richest man in China. 

Source: New York Post

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