Beijing cracks down on Jack Ma’s business
Founder of China's tech giants Alibaba and Ant Group Jack Ma has come under pressure from the Chinese authorities. Chinese regulators and Communist Party officials began to rein in the billionaire's sprawling e-commerce empire after Ma publicly criticized the country’s regulatory system for stifling innovation and urged China to seek a system conducive to development.
As a result, China launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba Group and sent officers to the company's several headquarters back in November. The reason for such tightened antitrust control was Jack Ma's stinging public criticism of China's state banks and economic regulators. In his speech, the entrepreneur compared them to pawn shops.
Such statements were deemed unacceptable, and the Chinese authorities halted the initial public offering of Ant Group's financial division. In addition, the Communist Party decided to take tough supervision measures against internet conglomerate Tencent, an operator of China's top messaging app WeChat and e-commerce platform for services Meituan.
Therefore, Jack Ma was forced to disappear from public view for several months. In January, he even missed the recording of Africa's Business Heroes, his own television show on which he was supposed to be a judge. Furthermore, Ma's conflict with the Chinese government affected his wealth. The billionaire lost $12 billion.