As Chinese regulators intensified their crackdown on Jack Ma’s Ant Group, speculations are rife that the billionaire is missing.
Jack Ma has reportedly not made a public appearance in over two months. Speculations about his whereabouts intensified when Ma failed to appear as judge in the final episode of his own show, Africa’s Business Heroes.
The flamboyant co-founder of Alibaba and Ant Group has not made a public appearance since Ant’s initial public offer (IPO) was suspended in November. He was advised not to leave the country by the government.
The campaign against Alibaba and its peers got into high gear, after Ma attacked Chinese regulators in a public address for being behind the times.
He had accused the financial and regulatory system of China of stifling innovation. He had also called for a revamp to extend financial services to more small firms and individuals on the basis of technology.
China has been cracking down on anticompetitive behaviour in the country’s booming internet sector. Last week, regulators announced an antitrust investigation into Ant’s sister firm Alibaba and ordered Ant to shake up its lending and other consumer finance operations.
They are also looking into investments made by Ant over the past few years, the rationale behind such deals and their synergies.