Where Is Alibaba Founder Jack Ma? Tech tycoon silent as China gets tough with his business

HAIKOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, speaks during 2020 China Green Companies Summit on September 29, 2020 in Haikou, Hainan Province of China. (Photo by Liu Yang/VCG via Getty Images)

Jack Ma, the co-funder of Alibaba and Ant Group, hasn’t been seen publicly in more than two months. Mr Ma was replaced as a judge in the final of Africa’s Business Heroes, a television contest for budding entrepreneurs, his photograph was removed from the judging webpage, and he was conspicuously left out of a promotional video.

A spokesperson for Alibaba, which was founded by Mr Ma, said: “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).”

Tech billionaire Jack Ma, second left, was dressed down after he made a candid speech criticising China’s regulators and its state-owned banks © Jack Ma Foundation

Ma, who is personally worth $48.2 billion, hedge his speech carefully. He described himself as “a somewhat retired man … sharing the non-professional views of a non-professional” and conceded that his ideas might be “immature, inaccurate or even laughable.”

Ma, who has over 612K followers on Twitter, last posted on the micro-blogging platform on October 10. In his tweet, he spoke of his partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Price William and Kate – and their association with the Earthshot Prize that fetes climate change warriors.

Once China’s richest man, Jack Ma has seen his net worth fall by $12 billion in two months. 
Wang HE/Getty Images

In December, 2020, China’s top market watchdog began investigation into alleged anti-competition practices by Alibaba. Local media also reported that the country has now laid out ‘rectification plan’ for his fintech venture Ant Group.