Netizens claim 'IT director' detained in China on charge of 'subversion of state' is Jack Ma

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
Beijing, China Updated: May 03, 2022, 12:50 PM(IST)

Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chairman of Chinese Alibaba Group is pictured in Santa Ponsa, on the island of Mallorca on October 20, 2021 Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

After the release of the report, Alibaba shares fell as much as 9 per cent on Tuesday

Netizens on Tuesday (May 3) claimed that the 'IT director' detained in China on charges of subversion of state and colluding with outside forces is billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The speculation started after the Hangzhou state security bureau confirmed that the name of the man arrested, for trying to split the country, ends with ''Ma.''

The Global Times made the announcement on the microblogging platform Twitter, A male department director of an internet company was detained on suspicion of colluding with outside forces and trying to subvert the state and split the country, the state security bureau in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, announced on Tuesday.''

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''Aside from forming illegal organizations and making political outlines to subvert the state, Ma also targeted young people and university students, inciting them to join in activities that smear the country and the people,'' it added.

"With the incitement of an anti-China figure, Ma created an online anonymous group to play the role of an agent of outside forces, spread rumours and disinformation, and release a so-called independence declaration to split the country and subvert the state."

A Weibo user wrote "Hangzhou, internet company... Why do I smell Alibaba?".

The mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party confirmed with a related department about the man's information learned that his name has three Chinese characters, indicating that it was not.  After the release of the report, Alibaba shares fell as much as 9 per cent on Tuesday.

Steven Leung, a sales director at brokerage UOB Kay Hian, told news agency Reuters that "Talk that a guy with the surname Ma in Hangzhou helped out an investigation triggered the panic, but as clarification came up... (it helped) calm down the market."

Amid an unprecedented regulatory crackdown on the sector for violations of antimonopoly, data privacy, and other rules, shares of Alibaba and other Chinese internet companies have been under pressure in the last couple of years.

Antitrust investigations were launched against Alibaba in April 2021 which resulted in a record $2.75 billion fine.

In 2020, the $37 billion listing of his fintech firm Ant Group was suspended by regulators two days before its planned debut.

(With inputs from agencies)

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