Asia Times Financial
There will be no Jack Ma era, the People’s Daily says
China’s most famous entrepreneur and one of its richest men has disappeared and is reportedly ’embracing supervision’, while top officials order a restructuring of the financial operations of Ant, to a format preferred by the country’s banking regulators
by Chris Gill
(ATF) China’s most famous businessman and one of the world’s richest men, Jack Ma (Ma Yun) has not been seen in public for weeks, after suffering a sudden and spectacular fall from grace in early November.
He has disappeared from his reality TV show, and was also removed as a judge on the show. No reasons were given, but Ma’s details are gone from the programme’s information.
Meanwhile, online vitriol towards Ma has heated up (or been ramped up) dramatically. Usually known as “Uncle Horse” – as his Chinese surname ‘Ma’ means horse – he has recently been damned as a money-grabbing ‘vampire’ who exploits the poor, in state media outlets strongly criticising him, even the People’s Daily.
Jack Ma is now “embracing supervision” at an undisclosed location, the CCP mouthpiece has reported.
Ma, a member of the Communist Party, had been advised by the government not to leave the country, Bloomberg reported about a week ago.
‘An evil vampire’
A statement in the leading state media outlet said there would be no “Jack Ma era”, and that reflects the current Chinese slogan that China is entering a ‘new era.’
The People’s Daily Online said in November: “Ma Yun is savvy, but without the support of national policies, Ali will not be able to become a trillion business empire, and Ma Yun cannot have the influence and popularity today.”
A commentary in Netease went further. It said: “On November 3, the listing plan of Ant Group was suspended. Jack Ma, who ‘dislikes money’, not only lost the best chance of becoming the world’s richest man, but even the reputation he had accumulated over many years collapsed almost overnight, and he was no longer a kind ‘Father Horse’. Instead, he became the evil ‘vampire’ in people’s hearts.”
According to the dialectic from Beijing, companies such as Ma’s, that lend cheap money often to young people, who then develop bad consumer habits, these internet micro-lenders are finished, if they cannot get on to a track endorsed by banking regulators.
PUBLISHED: 19:22 GMT, 5 January 2021 | UPDATED: 20:16 GMT, 5 January 2021
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is not missing, and is just laying low, sources have said, after he vanished following a speech about economic reform in the country.
Ma founded Alibaba, Asia’s version of Amazon, with sources inside the company telling Fox Business that he is currently in hiding but is ‘not missing or detained’.
In November, officials in Beijing ‘dressed down’ Ma and suspended the blockbuster $37billion initial public offering of his Ant Group on the direct order of President Xi, the Wall Street Journal reports.
They then advised Ma to remain in China before launching an anti-monopoly investigation into Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding on Christmas Eve, according to Bloomberg. Beijing also ordered Ma’s financial tech company Ant Group to scale back its operations.
Ma then mysteriously disappeared from his Dragons’ Den-style TV show Africa’s Business Heroes just before the November final, while his photo was scrubbed from the show’s judging panel webpage.
A spokesperson for Alibaba told the Financial Times that Ma could no longer be part of the judging panel ‘due to a schedule conflict’.
But weeks before the final, Ma tweeted that he ‘couldn’t wait’ to meet the contestants. There has been no activity since then on the father-of-three’s Twitter account, one that had regularly seen several tweets a day.
Beijing has a history of ruthless action against its internal critics and in March a property tycoon disappeared after he called President Xi a ‘clown’ for his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Friends of Ren Zhiqiang said they could not contact him and six months later he was sentenced to 18 years in prison after he ‘voluntarily and truthfully confessed’ to various crimes of corruption.
Xian Jianhua, a billionaire financier, was snatched from a Hong Kong hotel in 2017 and taken to the mainland.
He is said to remain under house arrest more than three years later, with no official word of his location.
The Chinese mouthpiece, People’s Daily, reported that Jack Ma has been ’embracing supervision’ at an unknown location. However, Duncan Clark, the chairman of BDA China, said that he does not believe that Jack Ma was under custody.
5 January, 2021
Two Months after Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, mysteriously disappeared, it has now been reported that he is being supervised at an undisclosed location.
The Chinese mouthpiece, People’s Daily, reported that Jack Ma has been ’embracing supervision’ at an unknown location. However, Duncan Clark, the chairman of BDA China, said that he does not believe that Jack Ma was under custody. He emphasised, “I think he’s been told to lay low. This is a pretty unique situation, more linked to the sheer scale of Ant Group (owned by Jack Ma) and the sensitivities over financial regulation.” Earlier, Bloomberg had reported that the business tycoon was told by the Chinese regime to not leave the country.