Jack Ma Photograph:( AFP )
Since his controversial speech, Jack Ma's business empire, Ant Group, has been under strict scrutiny by Beijing officials
Chinese billionaire and founder of the Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, has been reported as missing after he openly criticised China’s regulators and its state-owned banks, accusing them of slowing down innovation.
Jack Ma has not been spotted in public for the last two months and was also missing from the finale episode of his own talent show titled Africa’s Business Heroes.
Concerns rose after the businessman delivered a controversial speech in Shanghai on October 24 in which he called the Chinese banking rules and process to be similar to that of an "old people's club".
"Today’s financial system is the legacy of the Industrial Age," he said in his speech. "We must set up a new one for the next generation and young people. We must reform the current system."
Since his controversial speech, Jack Ma's business empire, Ant Group, has been under strict scrutiny by Beijing officials. A $37 billion public offering was also cancelled after his bold stand against China's banking system.
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Now, his disappearance from the finale episode of his show has now raised serious concerns for his safety. Further, his image has also been removed from the official website of the talent show.
However, a spokesperson from the Alibaba Group has rubbished all reports and has claimed he is not missing but simply had scheduling issues. "Due to a schedule conflict Mr Ma could no longer be part of the finale judge panel of Africa’s Business Heroes earlier this year (2020)," he said.
Jack Ma has now been replaced by an executive of the Alibaba group, Lucy Peng. "There was something going on in China with Jack Ma or something, so (Lucy) also came in as well," a contestant told local media.