Who is Jack Ma of Alibaba? Where he came from and disappeared

For years, none flew more than Jack Ma in China, founder of Pixi-Face, the $ 500 billion powerhouse e-commerce group Alibaba, Asia’s Amazon.

Now he has disappeared and no one knows where he is.

Ma, a member of the Communist Party, who famously started as an English teacher, was the epitome of the high-tech “China Dream” until he ran away from the political leaders who once lionized him. He has not been seen publicly for two months.

China’s expert Craig Singleton of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The Post, “China used Jack Ma and Alibaba as well as some of the world’s largest fintech companies.

“But these private sector companies were operating without government control and Jack got out of his skis a little bit. You only have to get off the line once and they will get you. He is probably hit very hard. “

Insiders told The Post that it is highly unlikely that 56-year-old Ma has been permanently vanished to one of China’s feared “black sites” reserved for the country’s dissidents. Nor is he in Singapore, according to some rumors.

Instead he is probably freezing his heel at home or in a “very sparse place”, where an expert said he could review “Marxist lessons” with party officials, a process known as “supervising Hug “.

Forming her own company, being almost larger than China, the free-spirited Ma, who married three children, traveled the world. He had lunch with President Obama and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron along with stars such as Tom Cruise, Daniel Craig, Kevin Spacey and Nicole Kidman and wandered around Davos – all fluent English he learned as a child.

They even dressed like Elton John or Michael Jackson and staged their songs at company functions, reciting jokes to thousands of Alibaba adorable employees.

Analysts in China say that he acted more like an American billionaire than Dor, low-key Jeff Bezos and that it was his fault. In keeping with his outspoken ways, Ma reveals at a conference in Shanghai in October about how backward the country was from state-run banks and regulators – just days before Ma’s financial tech firm ANT Group was ready. Will have the largest IPO.

“Today’s financial system is a legacy of the industrial era,” Ma declared in the now infamous speech. “We should start a new beginning for the next generation and the youth. We should improve the current system. “

Among other things, Ma blasted the bankers of the country for their “Ponsopt mentality”.

Ma’s wings were suddenly closed. He disappeared from the public eye, the ANT’s IPO was reportedly canceled at the behest of Chinese President Xi Jinping – and China has launched an antitrust investigation into Ma’s giant company.

“This is Icarus, a classic case of hubris,” Gordon Chang, author of “The Cumming Fall of China”, told the Post. “In Jack Ma’s mind he was a rock star, perhaps not more powerful than Xi Jianping, but bigger than the Central Bank.” So the party decided to field them. They ran over Jack Ma and hoped it would send a message. “

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma performs at the company's 20th anniversary celebration in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province.
Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma performs at the company’s 20th anniversary celebration in Hangzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province.

This is a difficult fall for a man born in Ma Yoon, about two hours from Shanghai, to parents of traditional musicians in Hangzhou in the southeastern part of China. Mow was a punk boy in a poor family who taught himself English at a young age by befriending Western tourists, as described by Morgan Stanley employee Duncan Clarke in “Alibaba: The House That Jack Jack” in 1999. Had met The small apartment where he founded Alibaba.

When he was 14, Ma met Ken Morley, a tourist in Australia, and his family, and this led to a lifelong friendship. Morliss took Ma to Australia for a trip in 1985, and Ma said the trip “changed his life.” I learned to think for myself. “

Ma’s new worldliness and ambition did not help her in school, however. He twice failed in China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam. He eventually made it to his third attempt and moved to the Hangzhou Teachers Institute, from where he graduated in 1988 with a degree in English.

Ma met his future wife Kathy in college, and they married in 1988. He lives in his hometown Hangzhou with his three children.

She faced more hurdles after college, reportedly being turned down for more than 12 job openings, even one at KFC.

He was eventually hired as an English teacher at a rate of $ 12 per hour. He also started a translation company, but was on a trip to the US in 1995 that he discovered the Internet and on his return to China, started trying online startup companies.

After several misfires, he formed Alibaba from his small apartment in Hangzhou in 1999 with 17 friends. The initial concept – shopping online for small businesses – attracted $ 25 million in its first year from investors.

Alibaba is today the world’s largest online commerce company. Apart from shopping, it also includes banking, technology and cloud computing.

Ma is portrayed as one of the most different, such as billionaire with Internet, science or coding talent. He said that Richard prefers wild publicity stunts associated with Branson, which is why, insiders say, he began taking to the Alibaba stage at corporate gatherings. He put on a blonde wig and headdress in 2009 to sing with “The Lion King”. In 2017, he hunted on top of a motorcycle in a mask and a Michael Jackson costume while dancing to “Billie Jean” and then joined a “formation”. Style “performing with backup dancers.

Today, Ma is not an executive or board member in Alibaba or ANT, but is the largest Alibaba shareholder with shares worth at least $ 25 billion.

Alibaba lost more than $ 110 billion in market value on December 24 when China officially launched an investigation. The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the Chinese government asked state media to censor reporting of the Alibaba investigation in December.

Jack Ma takes on Michael Jackson's songs during the Alibaba Annual Party at the Huanglong Sports Center in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang Province.  2017
Jack Ma dances to a rendition of Michael Jackson’s songs during the Alibaba Annual Party at the Huanglong Sports Center in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang Province in September 2017.
Via AFP Getty Image

It is not uncommon for China to publicly trespass some of their most prized teakoons and celebrities, and show them who’s boss. The country’s biggest film star, Fan Bingbing, went missing for alleged tax evasion in 2018 and was out of sight for months. She eventually posted an apology to the Communist Party on her social media pages and reportedly paid a tax bill of at least $ 70 million.

No one knows where Bingbing disappeared, but a source told Vulture that he was placed under “residential surveillance at a designated location”, which was described as a vacation spot in the coastal province of Jiangsu.

In Ma’s case, he was a no-show as a judge in the conclusion of a game show for entrepreneurs called “Business Heroes of Africa”, sponsored by his philanthropic organization in Africa.

A spokesman for Alibaba said there was a “scheduling conflict” that kept Ma away from her show. While some reports from outside China say that Ma has only a low profile, while Chinese regulators pars the huge books of Alibaba and order the reorganization of the ANT, the situation appears grim if not sinful.

Some say that West opened young Ma’s eyes and now he has become what he deserved.

“Jack Ma is a gangster,” Peter Navarro, White House director of trade and manufacturing policy and author of the 2011 book “Death by China: Confronting the Dragon”, told the Post. “He runs a company called Alibaba. Finish Thought: Forty Thieves. They set up an enterprise with stolen goods using our eBay business model. He stole all the e-commerce technology from us. “

But for all his cleverness, Ma failed to see what should have been obvious to him and those around him, Navarro said. “Xi has been consolidating power for the last four to five years.”

“He is doing the same to the Chinese oligarchs as Putin did to the Russian oligarchs. They get money and fall in love with the West and forget where they come from. Then they slap Is. There is a Chinese expression called ‘slaying the chicken, scaring the monkey’ which means making an example of someone. That’s what they are doing for him. They will probably let him come back but his marching orders are just for closing and To earn money. “

Singleton agreed.

“He will surface again and publicly repent but not on his own terms,” ​​Singleton said. “But I bet Jack Ma would comply because he doesn’t want to see this mass that he blew. He’s a strategic thinker and he’s still with someone.


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