Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has been conspicuously absent from public view for the past two months, raising questions about his whereabouts amid a regulatory crackdown on his vast business empire by Chinese authorities.
Ma’s last public appearance was in late October when he criticized China’s regulatory system during a speech in Shanghai. This speech led to the suspension of a $37 billion IPO for Alibaba’s financial technology arm, Ant Group.
The Financial Times recently reported that Ma was replaced as a judge on the TV show «Africa’s Business Heroes» in November. Alibaba stated that the change was due to a scheduling conflict, providing no further details.
Although Ma’s absence from public view has sparked speculation on social media platforms outside of China, it has not been a significant trending topic within mainland China, where sensitive subjects are subject to censorship.
Chinese regulators have intensified their scrutiny of Ma’s businesses since his October speech. This includes launching an antitrust investigation into Alibaba and imposing new regulations on Ant Group’s lending and consumer finance operations. Some experts believe that Ma may have been advised to maintain a low profile due to the regulatory concerns surrounding his businesses.
Alibaba’s stock price on the Hong Kong stock exchange experienced a 2.15% decline following this news.
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