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Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Disappears from Public after Chinese Criticism

IMAGE: FOUNDATIONS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM VIA FLICKR (CC BY 2.0)

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has not appeared in public in the past two months. His disappearance has drawn public speculation on social media about the whereabouts of one of the richest men in China.

Previously, the Chinese government began investigating Jack Ma’s business empire, which is one of the biggest in the country.

According to Reuters on Tuesday 5th January, Jack Ma has not appeared in public since the end of last October at a forum in Shanghai. At that time, in his speech, Jack Ma criticised the Chinese regulatory system which made him collide with officials.

“The financial system today is a legacy from the industrial age,” said Jack. “We have to build something new for the next generation and the younger generation. We have to reform the current system.”

Furthermore, the IPO effort of Ant Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba, has also been suspended. The Chinese government has focused on Jack Ma’s business after his speech last October and even launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba and ordered Ant to create a separate holding company to meet capital requirements.

When news circulated about his disappearance, a video predicting the billionaire’s “end of history” claimed that he would either end up in prison or die went viral once more.

The video, uploaded 11th September 2019 on Twitter, is about a conversation between exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok, and Hayman Capital Management’s investment director Kyle Bass.

“There are only two ways (to end) a billionaire in China, he is imprisoned or dies,” said Kwok, as quoted by Real Vision.

Regarding the absence of Jack Ma from the TV show Africa’s Business Hero last November, The Financial Times said that Jack Ma was replaced in his role as a judge. An Alibaba spokesman said Jack Ma could not appear as a judge at the event because of conflicting schedules and he declined to comment further.

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