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News> The Alibaba founder, who has always been publicly loyal to the Communist Party, has fallen out of favor after harsh criticism of the Chinese financial system. In the meantime, not only the IPO of the financial subsidiary Ant Group is off the table, but the tech billionaire has disappeared without a trace for months. One of the richest men in China, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, disappeared from the public scene at the end of October, a report in the Wall Street Journal suggests. An indication: the founder of the Chinese online mail order company Alibaba is actually very active on Twitter. But it has been very quiet on the entrepreneur’s account since October 10th. If Ma had previously kept his followers up to date, not a single tweet has been posted since autumn. Ma no longer appears in his own show „Africa’s Business Heroes“, but has been replaced as a jury member by board member Lucy Peng. In a statement by the company, according to the „Financial Times“, it only states: Due to an overlap, Mr. Ma can no longer be part of the jury for the finals of „Africa’s Business Heroes“. The statement contradicts a tweet from Ma in August, in which he congratulated the finalists and announced that he couldn’t wait to meet them. Ma’s fortune is estimated by „Bloomberg“ at around 50 billion dollars. This puts it in 25th place worldwide.
System-critical financial giant Ant can turn China off its hinges
At a financial forum in Shanghai, the billionaire had sharply criticized the Chinese regime and the economy. He had said there that the Chinese financial system would hinder the economic and technical progress of the country if the regulations were too strict. According to the report, these statements should also have been the reason why China’s President Xi Jinping personally prevented the planned IPO of Ma’s company Ant Group. The mega IPO should bring in at least $ 34 billion, which Ant would have valued at more than $ 300 billion. The newspaper quoted a senior Chinese official as saying that the president did not care how rich someone was, only whether his interests were reconciled with those of the state. In November 2018, Ma was named one of the 100 people who have made „exceptional“ contributions to China’s economic development over the past four decades. In the corresponding report in the state newspaper „Peoples Daily“ it was also announced that Ma was a member of the Communist Party.
Online giant targeted Beijing investigates Alibaba monopoly
At the end of December, it became known that the Chinese antitrust authorities had started investigations against Alibaba and were investigating alleged monopoly violations. This was followed by a request from the antitrust authorities to the Ant Group to concentrate on its core business with payment services and to overhaul parts of its business areas. The case is reminiscent of real estate mogul Ren Zhiqiang, who disappeared in March. He had previously referred to the President as a „clown“ because of his handling of the Corona crisis and was then sentenced to 18 years in prison in September. According to the court, he is said to have „voluntarily“ confessed to various corruption crimes.
Before he took office in March 2013, China’s president had promised his people that he would take action against the rampant corruption in the country. Since then, Xi has also been taking action against the financial sector with Hollywood-style arrests, trying to eliminate not only corrupt functionaries, but also his rivals.