Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s business scales down as he is missing since two months

Jack Ma Picture credits: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock

Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce monster Alibaba was in the headlines for various reasons. Firstly, the good reason is that the richest man in China was praised for donating tens of millions of face masks to Europe, the US and WHO during the pandemic crisis. Later, in October last year, he faced a tough time for criticising the financial regulators and state banks in China.

Following the same, he was reprimanded by Beijing. Also, the $34B (nearly £25B) stock market float of Ant Group, his fintech company was suspended. Following the investigation, Ant Group was ordered to scale back its operations and focus on its mobile payment services.

Where is Jack Ma?

Since then, Jack Ma has not posted anything on Twitter and he has not been seen in public as well. He was mysteriously not present from his role as a judge on Africa’s Business Heroes, an entrepreneur-centric Dragon’s Den-style TV show. Ma did not appear on his own series final in November last year and his photo was removed from the website of the show. However, an Alibaba spokesperson stated that Jack Ma was unable to appear on the final citing a schedule conflict.

Anti-trust investigation

The disappearance of Ma has given rise to speculations that he is paying the price for his criticism. In Beijing, authorities started investigating Alibaba’s alleged monopolistic practices on Christmas Eve. And, reportedly told Ma not to leave China. The antitrust investigation into Alibaba’s e-commerce business and the confusion in the IPO of Ant Group led to a plunge in Alibaba’s shares and Jack Ma’s personal wealth as well.

New policies on cards

Of late, China has started taking efforts that will curb the influence of tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent. The country released regulations that will prevent these companies from sharing sensitive consumer data, engaging in anti-competitive behaviour and forming agreements to block smaller rivals. It is widely claimed in the industry that many of these new policies are targeted around Jack Ma.

In the meantime, Alibaba Group has announced that it will shut down the music streaming service Xiami Music, which was launched in 2013 on February 5. The company invested millions into this service to compete with others in the online music business in China.

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