Jack Ma

Regional News • Asia • China
Billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma makes first public appearance in three months
Jack Ma
Jack Ma Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire internet entrepreneur suspected missing, has made his first public appearance in three months. The short speech is Ma’s first public appearance since October 24 when he made a speech at the Shanghai finance forum. In the speech, Ma criticised Chinese financial regulation and called for reform.

Ma's low profile since, which included pulling out of his own show African Business Heroes, led to speculation that he was "missing."

Business • Markets
China pushes Alibaba founder Jack Ma to break up his fintech empire
Jack Ma
Jack Ma Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chinese regulators want Jack Ma's Ant Group to go back to its digital payment roots, stating Ant's corporate governance was "not sound". The Ant Group started as Alipay, which became China’s largest digital payment platform, though it eventually expanded to offer investment and savings accounts and lending, insurance and wealth management services.

The latest salvo in Beijing's battle against Ma - who had been feted as China's greatest modern-day entrepreneur until he started speaking out against strict regulations - wiped 8% off the value of Alibaba's share price in Hong Kong trading on Monday.

In November, Chinese regulators blocked Ant’s $37 billion IPO just two days before dealing was due to begin in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Business • Markets
Ant Group's record IPO suspended in Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges
Ant Group logo
Ant Group logo Credit: Ant Group

Ant Group’s record-breaking dual IPO has been halted. The decision comes after Ant executives—including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who controls the fintech giant—were summoned to a meeting yesterday with Chinese regulators.

While the IPO had initially been given the all-clear, Shanghai has since determined that Ant Group may no longer qualify for a listing due to “information disclosure requirements” that it failed to meet, CNBC reports.

Ant Group, the parent company of Alipay—the world’s largest digital payments platform—said last month it planned to raise more than $34 billion for the IPO, which would have made it the biggest market debut in history.

Business • Markets
Ant Group's IPO will raise $34.4 billion, sees record $3 trillion in retail demand
Ant Group logo
Ant Group logo Credit: Ant Group

The initial public offering for Jack Ma's Ant Group will raise some $34.4 billion and value the company at more than $310 billion after retail investors placed bids for a record $3 trillion.

Xiaomeng Lu, a senior technology analyst at Eurasia Group, said that Ant is also poised to benefit from the Chinese government's latest economic development plans, which are being drawn up this week. Lu noted that Ant faces tough competition inside China from rival Tencent, while potential regulatory pressure from countries like the United States could limit opportunities abroad.