Well-known Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, who is under the Chinese government’s radar over an antitrust investigation, has been missing from public glare for about two months.
The Alibaba Group founder is not seen on social media as well. His last post on Twitter was on October 10.
The Financial Times reported that Jack Ma was recently replaced as a judge in the final of his own TV show, ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’. Apparently, Ma’s photograph too was removed from the judging webpage and he was conspicuously left out of a promotional video, The Financial Times report said.
The final of ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ happened in November, immediately after Ma openly criticised China’s regulators and its state-owned banks. An Alibaba spokesperson justified Ma’s absence from the show, blaming a “schedule conflict” for the billionaire’s change of plan.
Jack Ma’s two companies — Alibaba and Ant — are being scrutinised by Chinese authorities for alleged anti-competition practices by e-commerce firm Alibaba. They also laid out a “rectification plan” for Jack Ma’s fintech venture Ant Group.
A TechCrunch report at end of December said that People’s Bank of China had summoned Ant Group for regulatory talks on December 26, announcing a sweeping plan for the fintech firm to “rectify” its regulatory violations.
Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company with billions of dollars in turnover and millions of users. The e-commerce giant is considered as Asia’s most valuable corporation.
Bloomberg reported that Ma was asked to remain in China following which an anti-monopoly probe was initiated in Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding on Christmas Eve.
The probe resulted in Alibaba’s shares falling by 25% since Ma made the speech against the Chinese government in October, wiping over $10 billion from his fortune. Jack Ma has now fallen to the third place in the list of China’s richest people. Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts Ma’s current net worth at $63.1 billion.