Jack Ma living in Tokyo since Chinese crackdown on companies
Jack Ma, Chinese billionaire and the founder of Alibaba, has reportedly been living in Japan's Tokyo city for approximately six months, according to Financial Times reports on Tuesday. The e-commerce magnate reportedly left China and has kept a low profile since 2020 after allegedly running into trouble with the Beijing government for violating anti-monopoly regulations.
Why does this story matter?
- Fifty-eight-year-old Ma has faded from public view ever since he openly criticized the Xi Jinping-led government's regulators in 2020, blaming the state-run banks for holding a "pawnshop mentality."
- He also called for bold new parties to spread credit to the collateral poor.
- Right after, the companies founded by Ma--the Alibaba e-commerce group and Ant--faced numerous regulatory obstacles.
Ma, close friend of SoftBank Group Corp. founder
While citing people with knowledge of his whereabouts, reports suggested that the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. co-founder bought his stay in Tokyo with expeditions to the countryside and frequent visits to countries like Israel and the United States (US). The 58-year-old is a close friend of the Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son, who was also an early investor in Alibaba.
Jack Ma's life in Japan
Reports also suggested that the Chinese billionaire has kept to only a few private members' clubs in the central districts of Marunouchi and Ginza in Tokyo. According to reports in the media, Ma brought his own security staff and a personal chef to Japan with him and has since become an enthusiastic modern art collector there.
Jack Ma seen in multiple nations
Before the Chinese government's crackdown on Ma, he visited India in 2015 and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since his fallout with the Xi Jinping administration, the Alibaba co-founder has been seen in multiple nations, including the Netherlands and Spain. Ma also owns a home in Hangzhou, a city close to Shanghai in China, which is also the headquarters of Alibaba.
Who is Jack Ma?
Despite being born into a poor family, Ma managed to become one of China's richest men. Ma, a former English teacher, founded Alibaba.com in 1999 with 17 other co-founders in a small flat in eastern China's Hangzhou city. In September 2019, the then 55-year-old resigned as Alibaba chairman and handed over the company's reins to Daniel Zhang, his hand-picked successor.
Crackdown on Jack Ma
The Chinese regulators fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion for antitrust abuses in 2021 and also called off Ant's blockbuster $37 billion initial public offering. Over the past year, Jack Ma reportedly cut his stake in Alibaba Group from 6.4% to 4.8% and has cashed out almost $9.6 billion. Despite stepping down as the chairman, Ma is still part of Alibaba's board.