Jack Ma Secretly Living In Japan After China’s Strict Crackdown

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, one of the world’s largest eCommerce websites and 5th largest AI companies, was scrutinized by the Chinese government after his comments regarding Taiwan. This forced him to go underground for quite a while. He wouldn’t appear in meetings or shows and had no visible movement.

He was once considered the wealthiest person on the planet in China and has been seen very rarely in public after criticizing Chinese regulators for being a “pawnshop mentality” toward tech firms at the Shanghai summit in 2000.

His remarks came in the wake of extensive enforcement of Xi Jinping government officials on the private sector, with two of his firm, Ant, and Alibaba, confronting myriad regulatory hurdles. The regulators halted Ant’s $37 billion initial public offering and penalized Alibaba an unprecedented $2.8bn for antitrust violations.

Following his rift over the Communist administration, the 58-year-old has been featured in a 48-second supposed “hostage video,” spotted during a visit to the Netherlands and aboard a yacht on Mallorca, the Spanish island Mallorca in October of last year.

Before this, he was spotted on the streets of Hong Kong.

His stay of over a month in Japan has included visits to hot springs and ski resorts in the rural areas of Tokyo and regular visits across Israel and the US, according to the Financial Times reported according to sources who know his whereabouts.

Even within Tokyo, he has maintained his presence in extremely restricted clubs to which only listed high-profile people have access. He’s rumored to travel with his wife, chef, and security personnel. During his stay in Japan, he started taking an interest in collecting modern art.

According to his acquaintances in China, Ma has taken to painting watercolors to relax after disengaging from his hectic life in the public eye.

According to the report, he has also utilized his time in Japan to broaden his business interests beyond basic eCommerce technology such as Alibaba and Ant and into sustainability.

Chinese authorities are preparing to impose a penalty that exceeds $1 billion on Ant Group. Reuters reported Ant Group, setting the foundation for the end of the fintech company’s lengthy overhaul of its regulatory framework.

Ant’s fine could be the biggest regulatory penalty that an internet-related company has faced in China since the ride-hailing big Didi Global’s $1.2bn fine was imposed by the cybersecurity regulators in July.

A false report caused Alibaba to drop 9.4 percent of its shares.

At the start of this week, official media broadcaster China Central Television reported that an individual named “Ma” had been arrested and suspected of threatening the nation’s security. In the wake of these allegations, Alibaba plunged as much as 9.4 percent in Hong Kong and lost about $26 billion worth of market value due to an innocent mistake.

The state broadcaster clarified the situation to avoid confusion, saying that the person wasn’t Alibaba’s billionaire CEO Jack Ma. People aware of the situation confirmed that the person mentioned in the report was not Jack Ma. None of these would have prevented the 9.4 percent drop in market value within hours.

The Global Times, the daily tabloid publication of the Communist Party of China’s newspaper, called the People’s Daily, said that the suspect was working for an IT firm and was the creator of an anonymous online group with the aim of “splitting up the country and subvert the state.”

The report further noted that the suspect’s surname comprises 3 Chinese characters, compared to Jack Ma’s, with just two characters.

When they cleared the confusion, the share prices slowly rose, and the loss was recovered within the day. The panic created by CCTV’s single-sentence news report demonstrates how sensitive the tech industry is in China.


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