Jack Ma’s vanishing act perplexes all amid China’s anti-trust probe

Jack Ma’s two companies – Alibaba and Ant – are being investigated by the Chinese authorities for alleged anti-competitive practices

Alibaba Group is the world’s largest e-commerce company in terms of total sales | File photo

Well-known Chinese business magnate Jack Ma, who is under the Chinese government’s radar for an antitrust investigation, has been absent from the public for about two months.

The founder of the Alibaba Group cannot be seen on social media either. His last post on Twitter was on October 10th.

The Financial Times reported that Jack Ma was recently replaced as a judge in the finale of his own TV show “Africa’s Business Heroes”. Apparently, Ma’s photo was also removed from the ratings website and it was conspicuously omitted from a promotional video, the Financial Times report said.

The finale of “Africa’s Business Heroes” took place in November, immediately after Ma openly criticized China’s regulators and state banks. An Alibaba spokesman justified Ma’s absence from the show and blamed a “schedule conflict” for the billionaire’s change of plan.

Also read: Jack Ma’s future is uncertain as China halts Ant Group’s IPO

Jack Ma’s two companies – Alibaba and Ant – are being investigated by Chinese authorities for alleged anti-competitive practices by e-commerce company Alibaba. They also put forward a “rectification plan” for Jack Ma’s fintech company Ant Group.

A TechCrunch report in late December said the People’s Bank of China invited Ant Group to regulatory talks on Dec. 26 and announced a comprehensive plan for the fintech company to “correct” its regulatory violations.

Also read: Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma resigns as the industry faces uncertainties

Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce company with billions of dollars in revenue and millions of users. The e-commerce giant is widely considered to be Asia’s most valuable company.

Bloomberg reported that Ma was asked to stay in China, following which an antimonopoly investigation was launched at Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding on Christmas Eve.

The investigation resulted in Alibaba’s shares falling 25% since Ma made the October speech against the Chinese government and wiped over $ 10 billion from his fortune. Jack Ma has now fallen to third place on the list of the richest people in China. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts the current net worth of Ma at 63.1 billion US dollars.

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