Jack Ma left China for the first time since regulatory crisis began

Texas News Today

People familiar with the matter say the billionaire co-founder has traveled outside China for the first time since his business empire was placed under regulatory scrutiny nearly a year ago. ..

Mr Ma, who has recently spent some time in Hong Kong, said people are now in Europe to visit friends, taste wine and hold business talks. He said he would arrive in Spain this week, board a ferry from the Balearic Islands and travel to other European countries. Mr Ma’s schedule is fluid, but according to one he will return to China next month.

This was Ma’s first time abroad since stopping Ma-controlled fintech giant Ant Group’s blockbuster public offering last November, people said.

The visit shows that Mr. Ma is safe and that Chinese authorities have not banned him from leaving the country. Officials often use a practice called “exit bans”, which have influenced government officials and business executives to prevent individuals from leaving China and sometimes ask for help with investigations.

The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The visit was first reported by Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post.

Mr Ma has been coy as Ant halted its initial public offerings in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where it plans to raise more than $34 billion. The cancellation came after Mr. Ma’s speech on the financial forum caused regulatory anger. Regulators then launched an investigation into Alibaba for alleged anti-competitive behavior on the e-commerce platform, and subsequently fined a record $2.8 billion.

He has appeared in several public places in mainland China, but speculation about his safety has intensified. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 57-year-old woman lives in China, exchanging wall-wide schedules for global business trips and meeting with world leaders to play golf and learn oil painting. did.

At a charity event of 100 teachers in January, Mr Ma referred to President Xi Jinping’s plan to promote social equality, and business entrepreneurs, “for the revitalization of the region and general prosperity for a lifetime.” Work hard,” he said via a video link. Alibaba later said it would spend about $15.7 billion, out of 100 billion yuan, by 2025 to support the Common Prosperity campaign.

Alibaba also aggressively opened up services to rivals after officials urged Internet companies to block app users from accessing other services. The e-commerce giant has allowed users to buy items in certain apps through WeChat Pay, a payment service operated by rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Meanwhile, Ant has separated some of its Alipay app-based financial services from another app called Ant Fortune after regulators asked financial tech companies to separate its broad suite of financial products and services from its main payments platform, Journal. asked to do. We are also working on the transfer. I am reporting

On Tuesday, senior Chinese central bank officials reportedly said state media had already solved nearly half of the nearly 1,000 financial problems that officials found on 14 Internet platforms, including Ant.

According to Xinhua News Agency and other media reports, the Communist Party leader of the People’s Bank of China Mr. Guo Jie Qing said that the authorities have received almost positive feedback from companies dealing with the issue.

“By the end of this year, we will see more significant progress,” Guo, China’s top regulator of banking and insurance, said in an interview.

write in Keith Zhai ([email protected])

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