Alibaba Founder Had Criticized Chinese Govt; He Is Now Missing For 2-Months

For over two months now, Alibaba founder and Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has gone missing. This comes after his controversial speech in October in which he severe criticized the regulation system of China and called the banks ‘pawnshops’.

Since November 2019, Jack Ma has not made any public appearance. As a matter of fact, he even did not appear in the final episode of Africa’s Business Heroes, which is his own talent show. He was supposed to be a part of the judging panel in November final but he was replaced by an Alibaba executive. Also, his picture was removed from the website. This incident has rather deepened the mystery about his whereabouts.

If speculations are to be believed, it is his China’s authoritarian regime which has led to the crackdown on his business in the country and his disappearance from public space. 

Where It All Started?

It all started with a speech, wherein Ma criticized China’s regulators and state-owned banks for their ‘backwardness’. His remarks have infuriated Beijing’s party brass which in turn lead personally order a halt to the offering by Alibaba’s financial affiliate company, Ant Financial by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Interestingly, according to the reports Ant Financial was set to raise USD 34 billion in the biggest stock-market debut in history.

Beijing cancelled the IPO of Ant Financial in early November whereas in the late December, there was an announcement about an antitrust investigation into Alibaba’s e-commerce business launched by Chinese regulators. In addition to it, they have plans to enforce new rules to curb Ant’s business activities. This has led to the decline in Alibaba’s shares and Jack Ma`s personal wealth.

Ma publicly castigated financial regulators for being obsessed with minimizing risk and accused Chinese banks of behaving like ‘pawnshops’ by lending only to those who could put up collateral, according to a report by The New York Times.

“Based on my understanding, what President Xi said about ‘enhancing governing ability’ meant orderly regulation to maintain healthy and sustainable development, not just regulation without development,” NHK World quoted Jack Ma.

Prevent The Disorderly Expansion of Capital:-

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seems more than willing to tap into a long-running resentment of the rich, according to the report. This could mean trouble ahead for Chinese entrepreneurs and private businesses under Xi Jinping.

Lately, China has been finding ways and doing efforts to curb the influence of big tech companies like Alibaba and Tencent.

The Wall Street Journal reported that draft regulations released by China in November aimed at preventing the firms from forming agreements to block out smaller rivals, colluding to share sensitive consumer data and engaging in other anticompetitive behavior.

A meeting chaired in early December by Xi of CCP’s Politburo, a pledge was taken to strengthen antimonopoly efforts next year and to ‘prevent the disorderly expansion of capital’. This message is portentous to a larger crackdown on internet giants. 

Beijing is seeking to shrink Jack Ma’s technology and financial empire and potentially take a larger stake in his businesses, reported the Wall Street Journal. Regulators have zeroed in on the billionaire in a campaign to strengthen control of an increasingly influential tech domain, according to some Chinese officials and government advisers familiar with the matter.

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