Jack Ma, the founder of the online sales website Alibaba, was on the cusp of becoming the richest man in China.
In November 2020, the night before one of his successful businesses closed, the billionaire had suddenly disappeared.
His company Alibaba started from his apartment and became one of the most popular tech brands in the world.
Its portal currently has around 800 million users and its services range from purchasing and data storage to artificial intelligence.
Also, Ma is known for her illustrious presence and Their publicity stunts.
He has organized parties for thousands of his employees, while playing his own pieces of music.
Its latest business venture, The Ant Group, is leading the digital payment market in China with its Alipay transaction app.
The company intends to revolutionize banking in China by diverting the power of traditional institutions from control.
The October 24, 2020 In Shanghai, Ant Gruop was about to launch what would be the largest IPO in history.
Alipay digital payment service is ubiquitous in China. (Source: Reuters)
Prior to the event, Ma delivered a speech to a crowd of the country’s notable personalities with a controversial speech criticizing the Chinese financial system.
After that speech, the businessman did not appear in public again for three months. It was rumored that he was not under house arrest or being held by the Chinese authorities
Some doubted he was still alive.
Cited by the government
In that speech, the founder of Alibaba accused Chinese banks of operating with a ‘mentality’pawnshop“.
He also indicated that the Chinese authorities are trying to “run an airport as if it were a train station”, referring to the regulations on the issue of digital finance.
These allegations sparked outrage Corporation Some bank reports indicate that they have caught the president’s attention as well Xi Jinping.
Some reports indicate that President Xi personally intervened to prevent the sale of Alipay shares. (Source: GETTY IMAGES)
Soon, Ma and her closest colleagues were called to a meeting with the organizers, and the Ant Group IPO was halted.
Shares of the companies owned by “Ma” fell by more than $ 76,000 million US Dollars Relative to its initial value.
After that meeting in November 2020, Jack Ma was not seen again for weeks.
A big surprise
“It seems that that day crossed the invisible red line of what could be said and done in China under Xi Jinping,” said Christina Bottrop, a China analyst who has interviewed Ma on several occasions.
“I think it was a big surprise to him. He wouldn’t have crossed that line if he had known how bad things were.”, sum.
Ultimately, three months later, on January 20, 2021, Ma reappeared in a short video of a charity event.
The next month I started playing Golf en la Island de Hainan.
“He clearly kept out of sight, and it was really the best he could do,” Bottrop said.
Jack Ma seems to have lost his popularity with Chinese leaders. (Source: GETTY IMAGES)
The Chinese government is now considering its strategy to regulate the tech giants, and in recent days it launched an antitrust investigation against Alibaba.
And last week, a regulator noted that 12 companies – including Tencent and Baidu – were fined for violating China’s antitrust law.
This may indicate an escalation in The entire technology sector.
China is currently being questioned by the United States and other countries over its human rights policies in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Some see the move to control the tech superpowers as an attempt to prioritize stability and control over business success.
Tencent is responsible for WeChat ‘super app’, among many other tech products. (Source: GETTY IMAGES)
“There are party committees [Comunista] “It’s there to remind companies that ultimately the party has power, even over powerful individuals like Jack Ma,” said Samantha Hoffman, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Strategic Policy.
This control extends to state secrets, No.
“The company is not only responsible for doing what the party demands, but it cannot admit that it does what the party says if they ask for it,” he added.
But other experts suggest that Alibaba and other Chinese tech giants in the West should not be viewed solely through the political lens.
“China is still a developing country. I think it might be unfair to judge a developing country with the same standards and advantages that apply to a developed country,” says Lilian Li, author of the Chinese technology publication “Chinese Characteristics”.