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Is Jack Ma laying low on purpose? Recent reports claim so

Image Source : AP

Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba Group, attends a conference to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening Up policy at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s sudden disappearance has sparked controversy, with new reports emerging everyday. Now, a report with CNBC has stated Jack Ma may be ‘laying low’ for the time being after his comments against China’s government regulators. According to the report, sources have said Jack Ma is out of the public eye on purpose. Jack Ma is very likely in Hangzhou, which is home to the Alibaba headquarters, CNBC anchor David Faber, who spoke to a person familiar with the matter, said.

“He ran afoul of the government of the PRC (People’s Republic of China). He has pushed on that line a number of times in the past and been okay,” Faber said. 

A day ago, Duncan Clark, chairman of Beijing-based tech consultancy BDA China, told Reuters that he thinks Ma has been asked to “lay low”.

Where is Jack Ma?

Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma irked regulators with the speech at a business conference in Shanghai attended by some of the regulators he was criticizing. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan also was in the audience. In his speech, Ma complained regulators had an antique “pawnshop mentality” and were hampering innovation, according to Chinese media. He appealed to them to support unconventional approaches to make it easier for entrepreneurs and young people to borrow.

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Jack Ma was supposed to appear as a judge in the final episode of his own talent shows Africa’s Business Heroes. He, however, did not turn up, and later his pictures too were removed from the official website of the show, the report stated. 

About Jack Ma 

Fifty-six year old Jack Ma had stepped down as Alibaba’s chairman in 2019 but is part of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-member group with the right to nominate a majority of its board of directors. He is one of the biggest shareholders.

China’s best-known entrepreneur, e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, made his fortune by taking big risks.

The former English teacher founded Alibaba Group in 1999 when China had few internet users. Online payments service Alipay launched five years later before regulators said such businesses would be allowed. Both long shots grew to dominate their industries.

Alibaba Group shares traded in Hong Kong have fallen 19% since October. Ma’s fortune, which peaked earlier above $60 billion, fell by more than $10 billion.

Alibaba, headquartered in Ma’s hometown of Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, was founded to connect Chinese exporters with Western retailers. The company has expanded into online consumer retailing, entertainment and other areas.

Its finance arm, Yu’ebao, launched in 2013, attracted millions of customers in a market dominated by state-owned banks that focus on serving government industries. By 2017, Yu’ebao was the world’s biggest money market fund with 1.2 trillion yuan ($170 billion) in assets, competing with state banks for deposits.

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