Updated January 15th, 2021 at 16:48 IST

Jack Ma who disappeared along with 4 other billionaires 'laying low': Equity firm CEO

Jack Ma had visited the Alibaba executives in early 2019 once. Back then his company was about to start a $35 billion initial public offering of Ant Group.

Zaini Majeed
Jack Ma
| Image:self

Chairman of personal fairness agency Primavera Group, said on January 14 that Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who had disappeared along with four other Chinese billionaires is ‘safe and sound’. The business tycoon had been missing since October 2020 after he made disparaging statements against Communist-ruled China’s government and was reported off the radar by several Chinese run media outlets. Ma’s remarks had the preliminary public providing IPO of Ant Group terminated on November 3 and he was summoned by the PRC’s communist party members over Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s CEO’s critical statements against the Chinese authorities. 

‘He is laying low’, Bloomberg reported Fred Hu as saying, citing that Ma had visited the Alibaba executives in early 2019 once. Back then his company was about to start a $35 billion initial public offering of Alibaba-affiliate Ant Group Co. However, in late October, Ma not only condemned the Chinese financial regulators publicly but also berated the communist regime in China that made the survival of business empires difficult to sustain in the country. This led to the anti-monopoly investigation against the business tycoon and the government ordered the domestic media to restrict reporting on the Chinese business conglomerate. Following that year of the Chinese government initiated an antitrust probe, Ma’s whereabouts became unknown as he went off the public radar, raising speculations about his well being. 

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China’s Secret Detentions Act 

While Alibaba’s spokesperson had publicly refused to make statements about Ma’s location, Primavera Group CEO and former Chinese Goldman Sachs’ chairman clarified in the media that Ma was intact well, and physically sound. Ma was increasingly skeptical about the disappearance of a Chinese judge who skipped Africa’s Business Heroes for budding entrepreneurs and his posters were removed from the contest. When Ma disappeared, this led the Chinese tech billionaire to criticize China’s regulators and authoritarian leader Xi Jinping.

Tycoons called Ma’s disappearance as a ‘design’ by the CCP for presenting dissenting views against his government publicly. Many speculated that Ma was arrested under China’s Secret Detentions Act formed in 2013. Many prominent Chinese business tycoons critical of China’s communist regime had ‘mysteriously’ disappeared since including Fan Bingbing, ex-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei, businessman and investor Guo Guangchang, and ex-real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang. 

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(Image Credit: AP)


Published January 15th, 2021 at 16:50 IST

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