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Jack Ma not missing, Alibaba founder 'laying low'

Jack Ma’s latest gambit backfired after he had called regulators too conservative in an October 24 speech and urged them to be more innovative

January 06, 2021 / 09:45 AM IST
File image: Jack Ma

File image: Jack Ma


Alibaba founder Jack Ma is not missing; he is rather “laying low” for the time being after telling off Chinese government regulators.

"He may not have shown up, but he's not missing," CNBC anchor David Faber reported on January 5. “He is very likely in Hangzhou, where the headquarters of Alibaba is,” Faber said in the report.

The Chinese e-commerce billionaire's latest gambit backfired after he had called regulators too conservative in an October 24 speech and urged them to be more innovative.

“He is being less visible purposefully. And you can expect that that will continue to be the case for some time. 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,” reported the CNBC anchor quoting sources.

He irked regulators with the speech at a business conference in Shanghai attended by some of the regulators he was criticizing. He 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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They halted the impending stock market debut of Ant Group, an online finance platform that grew out of Alipay. Alibaba's share price sank, possibly costing Ma his status as China's richest tycoon.

“The October 24 speech just went too far. And like a lot of people there, he understands when you have to lay down and roll over. He is not going to be putting himself in any position where he will be speaking. He is not going to do that. It could be months. But it doesn’t mean that he is missing. He hasn’t been captured, he hasn’t been taken,” Faber added.

Ma, 56, 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.

(With inputs from agencies)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 6, 2021 09:45 am

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