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Jack Ma leaves China for the first time since regulatory predicament began

Singapore — Alibaba Group Holding, Jack Ma Ltd

Baba 6.10%

The billionaire co-founder has traveled outside China for the first time since his business empire was placed under regulatory scrutiny about a year ago, people familiar with the matter say. ..

Mr. Ma, who recently spent a short time in Hong Kong, said people are now in Europe to meet friends, taste wine and hold business talks. They said he will arrive in Spain this week, board a yacht from the Balearic Islands and travel to other European countries. Mr. Ma’s schedule is fluid, but according to one, he will return to China next month.

People said this was Ma’s first time abroad after the government stopped the blockbuster public offering of the Ma-controlled financial technology giant Ant Group last November.

The trip suggests that Mr. Ma is safe and that Chinese authorities have not banned him from leaving the country. Authorities often use a practice called “exit bans” that has affected government officials and business executives to prevent individuals from leaving China and sometimes seek help in investigating.

Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment. This trip was previously reported by Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post.

Mr. Ma has been unobtrusive since Ant stopped its initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where it planned to raise more than $ 34 billion. Cancellation came after Mr. Ma’s speech at the financial forum aroused regulatory anger. Regulators then began investigating Alibaba for alleged anti-competitive behavior on e-commerce platforms, and subsequently fined a record $ 2.8 billion.

He has appeared in several public places in mainland China, but speculation about his safety has increased. According to The Wall Street Journal, the 57-year-old woman stays in China, exchanging wall-wide schedules for global business trips and meetings with world leaders to play golf and learn oil painting. Did.

At a charity event attended by 100 teachers in January, Mr. Ma mentioned the catchphrase of President Xi Jinping’s plan to promote social equality, and business entrepreneurs said, “For the revitalization of the region and common prosperity for a lifetime. “Work hard,” he said via a video link. Alibaba later said it would spend about $ 15.7 billion worth 100 billion yuan by 2025 to support the common prosperity campaign.

Alibaba also aggressively opened services to rivals after authorities urged Internet companies to stop blocking app users from accessing other services. The e-commerce giant has allowed users to purchase items in some apps through WeChat Pay, a payment service operated by rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Meanwhile, Ant has separated some of its Alipay app-based financial services from another app called Ant Fortune after regulators have asked financial tech companies to separate their broad suite of financial products and services from their core payments platform, Journal. We are also working on transferring to. I am reporting.

On Tuesday, senior Chinese central bank officials reportedly said state media had already resolved about half of the approximately 1,000 financial problems the authorities found on 14 Internet platforms, including Ant.

According to Xinhua News Agency and other media reports, the Communist Party leader of the People’s Bank of China, Mr. Guo Ji Qing, said authorities have received almost positive reactions from companies dealing with the issue.

“By the end of this year, we will see more significant substantive progress,” Guo, also a top regulator of banking and insurance in China, said in an interview.

Write in Keith Zai (keith.zhai@wsj.com)

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Jack Ma leaves China for the first time since regulatory predicament began

Source link Jack Ma leaves China for the first time since regulatory predicament began

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