FinTech: Fintech And Ecommerce Billionaire Jack Ma Maybe Missing

January 4, 2021 | FinTech, News
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Ma’s last tweet was on October 10 last year.

Media chatter surrounds Jack Ma’s whereabouts after his controversial anti-establishment remarks at a Shanghai forum in late October. Much has happened in the Chinese fintech world since that fateful day. Incensed Chinese regulators likely decided to cut the billionaire’s wings and pulled the rug from under the Jack Ma-controlled Ant Group’s $35 billion IPO in early November by changing regulatory rules for Chinese fintechs and internet giants. Ma has been invisible to the public eye since those days of turmoil. (Yahoo Finance)

Jack Ma is AWOL at his own talent show

This is significant. Ma failed to make himself available for the final show in November of Africa’s Business Heroes. The show is meant for innovative African business founders, who can compete for a prize purse of US$1.5 million.

Ma was replaced as a judge on the show by an Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) executive, and his picture has been removed from the website.

The Financial Times quoted an Alibaba spokesman as follows: “Due to a schedule conflict Mr. Ma could no longer be part of the finale judge panel of Africa’s Business Heroes earlier this year (2020).”

Dire 2019 prediction coming true?

Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who fled China as a fugitive in 2014, said in 2019 that Jack Ma would either be imprisoned or end up dead. Wengui apparently believed that the Chinese government wanted to “take back” Ma’s Ant Group.

The Chinese authorities had reportedly ordered Ma not to leave China.

Meanwhile, top Chinese regulators have unleashed a wave of measures against fintechs without naming their main target, the Ant Group.

While an anti-trust investigation has been launched against Alibaba, the Ant Group has been ordered to review its operations.

These include its gargantuan insurance, lending, and wealth management services.

The sustained attack has clipped the share valuation of Alibaba, and therefore Ma’s personal fortune, by billions of dollars.

Beijing’s heavy hand on dissenting businessmen

According to OpIndia, dissidents have suffered the ire, and heavy-handed retribution, from a regulatory regime led by President Xi Jinping.

Billionaire Chinese businessman Ren Zhiqiang was sentenced to 18 years in prison on corruption charges after he called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “clown” for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mystery surrounding Chinese financier Xiao Jianhua lends weight to the theory that China may be eyeing control of the Ant Group. In 2017, according to the New York Times, Xiao was abducted from a Hong Kong luxury hotel and taken into Chinese custody.

Three years later, in July, regulators announced moves to seize companies worth hundreds of billions of dollars tied to Xiao’s Tomorrow Group.

Related Story:  Chinese Regulators Keep Up Rhetoric Against (Very Large) Fintechs

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