Where is Jack Ma?
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma has gone missing.
The Chinese tycoon has apparently been missing for two months according to a report by ZeroHedge. Several prominent Chinese Communist Party critics such as investor Kyle Bass previously predicted that outgoing Alibaba chairman would be “disappeared” by CCP leaders. Bass believed that the CCP no longer had any use for Ma. Despite China’s market reforms that have made its economy more dynamic on the world stage, the CCP has still maintained a tight leash on how influential entrepreneurs can become. A world renowned entrepreneur like Ma poses a potential threat to the CCP, which is hesitant about fully liberalizing its society.
Now, media outlets across the globe are catching on to the fact that Ma has been missing for the past two months. On January 3, 2021, Yahoo Finance announced that Jack Ma is now suspected of being “missing.” In another report by the Financial Times, Ma was apparently replaced at the last minute by an Alibaba executive in the final installment of the show “Africa’s Business Heroes”.
Ryan McMorrow and David Pilling reported:
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.
Although no fierce human rights activist, Ma has criticized some of the Chinese government’s regulatory policies and how they hinder innovation. At face value, Ma’s comments were used as an excuse by CCP higher-ups to begin clamping down on him.
Chinese tech whales have been subject to an “anti-monopoly” campaign which has negatively impacted their shares both domestically and internationally. Alibaba’s sister company Ant Financial has recently felt the impact of this campaign and has raised concerns about the Chinese state beginning to flex its muscles against the private sector.
After derailing its IPO, the CCP instructed Ant Financial to scale back some of its business ventures as part of a broader plan to keep the company from expanding. A number of business analysts speculate that similar measures to limit corporate growth will be used against other notable companies such as Tencent and JD.com. The Chinese state is sending a clear message that it won’t tolerate high degrees of market concentration among certain corporate actors.
This is perhaps a bridge too far for CCP leadership and a sign of future crackdowns against corporate upstarts throughout China.