New Delhi: Alibaba founder and tech billionaire Jack Ma has “disappeared” from public life for over two months after his conflict with the Chinese government. The tech giant in November criticized China’s regulators and state-owned banks.
Tech billionaire Jack Ma was recently replaced as a judge in the final of the TV show ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’. A spokesperson for Alibaba was quoted as saying that “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)”.
Last month, as China’s top market watchdog, began an investigation into alleged anti-competition practices by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, the country also laid out a “rectification plan” for Ma’s fintech venture Ant Group. According to a report in TechCrunch, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, “summoned Ant Group for regulatory talks on December 26th, announcing a sweeping plan for the fintech firm to ‘rectify’ its regulatory violations”.
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The banking authority laid out a five-point compliance agenda for Ant Group. The agenda is that Ant Group should return to its roots in payments and bring more transparency to transactions. Ant Group said it has established an internal “rectification workforce” to work on all the regulatory requirements.
Xinhua news agency had first reported that The People’s Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission, and State Administration of Foreign Exchange will “interview Ant Group in the near future”.
The State Administration for Market Regulation started an investigation into alleged anti-competition practices by e-commerce giant Alibaba, as Beijing tightened control of an expanding Internet.
In a brief note, the State Administration for Market Regulation said that it is investigating Alibaba over its “choosing one from two” policy. As part of this policy, merchants are forced to sell exclusively on Alibaba e-commerce platforms and skip rivals like JD.com.
Alibaba Group said in a statement that they have received notification from the State Administration for Market Regulation.
Jack Ma, who is listed as the richest man in China, witnessed his net worth dwindling by almost $11 billion since the end of October as China stepped up scrutiny of his empire and the country’s tech behemoths. The 56-year-old former English teacher, who founded the e-commerce giant Alibaba in his Hangzhou apartment in 1999, has reached a peak of $61.7 billion this year and was aiming to recapture the title of Asia’s wealthiest person. However, the entrepreneur’s fortune took a beating with the fortune at $50.9 billion and the business leader slipping to 25th position on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a list of the world’s 500 richest people.