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Jack Ma returns to China after a year abroad

Ma, who stepped down as Alibaba chairman in 2019, has largely disappeared from the spotlight after openly criticizing Chinese regulators and accusing the country's big state-owned banks of having a "pawnshop mentality."

© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

The founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, returned to China after a year-long global journey that also included Australia and Japan. According to sources familiar with his agenda, the businessman visited a network of private schools – ranging from kindergartens to high schools – funded by Alibaba founders in the eastern metropolis of Hangzhou in 2017. Ma, who resigned since Alibaba's presidency in 2019, he has largely disappeared from the spotlight after openly criticizing Chinese regulators and accusing the country's big state-owned banks of having a "pawnshop mentality".

Both companies founded by Ma – Ant and Alibaba – have since run into serious regulatory hurdles: Chinese authorities blocked Ant's $37 billion initial public offering, and imposed a $2,8 billion fine on Alibaba. billions of dollars for antitrust violations last year. Jack Ma's absence from China also coincided with the progressive tightening of anti-pandemic containment measures in China. Last year Ma lived for a time in Japan, where according to the "Financial Times" he led a "low profile" life. In recent months he has visited Thailand and Hong Kong.

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