Where did Jack Ma go? Called by the Chinese authorities, then silence

Where did Jack Ma go? Called by the Chinese authorities, then silence

There has been no news of the tycoon for two months, while he also loses the scepter of "richest man in Asia". And Beijing targets the activities of Ant Group, the fintech linked to Alibaba, which it founded

Alibaba founder Jack Ma (Getty Images) After being summoned by the Chinese economic and financial authorities on November 2, there is no more public news of Jack Ma. The founder of Alibaba is silent on Twitter, the last message is from October 10, and he missed the participation in the final of the talent show for entrepreneurs "Africa's Business Heroes", which he had created with the foundation that bears his name (a check for $ 1.5 million). An absence due, according to an Alibaba spokesman, due to "agenda problems" of Jack Ma who would remain very busy but in the meantime has lost the scepter of "richest man in Asia".

In the space of two months, the personal assets of the former English teacher and former president of the holding company would have suffered a shortfall of over 10 billion dollars, Bloomberg calculates, falling from 61.7 billion dollars to 51. , 2, so much so as to slip to fifth place in the ranking of Asian scroogeers. At the top now is Zhong Shanshan, an entrepreneur in the vaccine and bottled water sector, with a meteoric rise in 2020 (estimated $ 77.8 billion in wealth).

After reaching a market valuation of $ 313.7 billion shortly before it went public in Shanghai and Hong Kong, Ant Group could also fall below $ 153 billion, according to Bloomberg estimates. halving its value and returning to the same levels as two years ago. The 35 billion dollar IPO (an absolute record in financial history) of the fintech owned 33% by Alibaba was scheduled for November 5 but was blocked just 48 hours earlier by the same Chinese authorities who had summoned Jack Ma. According to an estimate made the next day, Ant Group should have repaid $ 167.7 billion to investors. Not only that: at the end of December the Chinese Antitrust launched an investigation into Alibaba Group for suspected monopolistic practices, which allegedly forced sellers to offer their products exclusively through the group's platform.

Jack's financial reverses But they started shortly after some statements by the same tycoon who on October 24, a few days before the listing, had criticized the Chinese financial system, in front of high-ranking executives, accusing Chinese banks of operating "with a pawnbroker mentality. ", When instead" good innovation is not afraid of rules, but of old-fashioned rules ", remembers Ansa. Ant Group owns Alipay, an in-app digital payments service used by 730 million users, which however has progressed to become a platform for obtaining small loans, buying insurance and investment products (through the Huabei group brands, Yu 'and Bao, My Bank). The evolution of this challenger player who risked becoming too big to fail has prompted the Chinese authorities to impose a crackdown on the hybrid nature of the Chinese fintech system as a whole. And Jack Ma's exit from the limelight.

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