BEIJING – China’s best-known entrepreneur, e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma, made his fortune by taking big risks

The former English teacher founded the Alibaba Group in 1999 when China had few internet users.The online payment service Alipay launched five years later before regulators said that such companies would be allowed Both long shots dominated their industries

Maâ € ™ s latest move failed after calling regulators too conservative in an October 24 speech, urging them to be more innovative, halting the upcoming IPO of Ant Group, an online financial platform spun out of Alipay Alibaba’s share price plummeted, possibly costing Ma his status as China’s richest tycoon

Since then, the normally ephemeral Ma has stayed out of the public eye, canceled a TV appearance and avoided social media, which has sparked fierce speculation about what might happen to Ma, China’s biggest global business star and symbol of its tech boom >

“The Jack Ma era is over” wrote a blogger under the name Yueyue Talks Technology It is too late to say goodbyeâ ????

Spokespeople for Alibaba and Ant did not respond to questions about why Ma did not appear in public

Some see Ma’s troubles as a warning from the ruling Communist Party that even a hugely successful entrepreneur cannot publicly defy regulators. But financial experts said President Xi Jinping’s administration is already concerned about Alibaba’s dominance in retail As for Ant, regulators fear that it could lead to financial risks, which the ruling party sees as one of the greatest threats to China’s economic growth

Shaun Rein, a management consultant in Shanghai, who said he met Alibaba executives and people who know Ma, said none of them report the billionaire is in legal trouble

â ???? They beat him up. He learned his lesson, and that’s why he’s been quiet for the past two months said Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group. Some of his friends told me they couldn’t believe how stupid he wasâ ????

Ma, 56, resigned as chairman of Alibaba in 2019, but is part of the Alibaba Partnership, a 36-person group with the right to appoint a majority of its board of directors. He is one of its largest shareholders

Annoyed regulators by speaking at a business conference in Shanghai that was attended by some of the regulators he criticized. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan was also in the audience

Ma complained that the regulators had an ancient “pawn shop” mentality and hampered innovation, according to Chinese media. He appealed to them to support unconventional approaches to make it easier for entrepreneurs and young people to borrow

“Tomorrow’s race will be a race of innovation, not regulatory skill,” Ma said, according to the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily

This clashed with the ruling party’s marathon campaign to reduce rising debts, which raised fears of a possible financial crisis and prompted international rating agencies to lower Beijing’s government bond credit rating at the same event in Shanghai, Wang warned of new technologies that Improve efficiency but increase financial risks, according to business magazine Caixin

On Nov. 3, Regulators Suspended Antâ € ™ s Market Debut It would have been the biggest year 2020 and grossed around $ 37 billion

The Alibaba CEO later praised regulators for a possible attempt to fix the relationship, but Ma said nothing. The last post on his Sina Weibo social media account is dated October 17

Hong Kong-traded Alibaba Group stocks have fallen 19% since October Ma’s net worth, which previously peaked at over $ 60 billion, declined more than $ 10 billion

Alibaba, headquartered in Ma’s hometown of Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, was founded to connect Chinese exporters with Western retailers. The company has expanded into online retail, entertainment and other areas

Founded in 2013, Yu’ebao Financial Branch attracted millions of clients in a market dominated by state-owned banks focused on serving the state-owned industries. By 2017, Yu’ebao was the world’s largest money market fund at 1 at 2 trillion yuan ($ 170 billion) competing for deposits with state banks

The Ant Group has been hired to revise its business before the market debut can take place

The central bank said Dec. 28 Ant was told to focus on its online payments business, suggesting the company may need to cut back on its ambitions and new initiatives that would hurt its attractiveness to investors

Executives at Alibaba and five other tech giants, including Tencent, operator of the WeChat messaging service, and online retailer JDcom, were warned by regulators last month not to seek new competitors from their markets, according to the government keep away

Hong Kong stock traders talk about Ma’s disappearance from social media but doubt Alibaba or Ant will be affected, said Kenny Wen of Everbright Sun Hung Kai

investment firm

“The crucial point that will affect the development of these companies is the latest antitrust regulations”said Wen Jack Ma has already left management, which does not affect the operation of the company”

The antimonopoly investigation against Alibaba, announced in December, targets its policy of banning vendors and other business partners from dealing with competitors

Ma’s notoriety is unusual in a society where popular wisdom warns: “A man is afraid of becoming famous as a pig is afraid of becoming fat”a ???? Others like Tencent founder Ma Huateng, who is not related to Jack Ma, have been known to avoid reporters and public appearances

Jack Ma wears a leather jacket, sunglasses and a wig to play rock songs at Alibaba’s annual employee festival in Hangzhou

Ma, who jokes that his oversized head and angular facial features make him like the title character in â ???? E look T. the extraterrestrial, â ???? has acted as an informal business ambassador overseas He met President Donald Trump in January 2017 and pledged to create US Jobs

Maâ € ™ s success has earned him a reputation for being politically well connected. But this is not the first time Alibaba has been hurt by its openness

In 2015, then Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai criticized a government report that Alibaba was unable to keep counterfeiting off its sales platforms. The government responded by attacking Alibaba in state media and posting complaints about counterfeit and lousy goods

The AP researcher Yu Bing in Beijing and the AP business writer Zen Soo in Hong Kong contributed to this

Jack Ma

World news – FI – Where is Jack Ma, China’s e-commerce pioneer?