Billionaire Jack Ma, one of the richest men in China and founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, made his fortune by taking risks.
A former English teacher founded the Alibaba Group in 1999, at that time the number of people using the Internet in China was very small. And the online payment service “Alipay” was launched five years later, before lawmakers announced that such companies would be allowed.
After a speech on October 24 in Shanghai, in which he called for economic reform and criticized the policies of the financial system pursued by the Chinese authorities, Jack Ma disappeared.
Since then, he has stopped appearing in public, and speculation begins about the location and fate of the largest global business figure in China and the reason behind his disappearance.
Ma remained out of sight, canceling his appearances on television as is customary as a judge in one of his companies’ talent programs and avoiding social media.
“The era of Jack Ma is over, it is too late to say goodbye,” wrote one blogger under the name of “Yoyo Tolix Technology.”
The spokespersons for “Alibaba” and You Group “(the financial services company) did not respond to questions about why” Ma “has not appeared in public places.
Some consider what happened with what was just a warning by the Communist Party to assure that even businessmen could not challenge the organizing body publicly.
Since the beginning of December, the giant Alibaba company has been facing an anti-trust investigation. The IPO of the “Ant Group” group has been suspended and the company has been informed of the restructuring.
Sean Ryan, a business consultant in Shanghai, said he had met several Alibaba executives and people with ties to Jack Ma, and none of them mentioned that the billionaire was facing legal problems.
“They slapped him and learned the lesson, which is why he’s been quiet for the past two months,” said Ryan, founder of the China Market Research Group, adding that some friends told him, “We can’t believe how stupid he is.”
Ma, 56, the chairman of the board of directors of the e-commerce group “Alibaba”, stepped down from his post in 2019, but remains part of the giant 36-member company and is one of its largest shareholders.
Ma angered the regulator because of a speech he gave at a business conference in Shanghai, accusing it of hindering innovation. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan was also present.
Jack Ma’s fortune is estimated today at $ 58.4 billion, and he had allocated millions of dollars to fight the Coronavirus, and he said that he would give about $ 14.4 million to fund and develop an anti-Covid-19 vaccine in Wuhan, China, the first spot where the deadly epidemic spread in the world at the end of the year 2019 before it later spread to all parts of the world.