Chinese billionaire and Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma is suspected to be missing
following his mysterious disappearance from the public eye for over two months
after Beijing’s aggressive crackdown on his business empire.
The country’s third-richest man was slated to appear as a star judge on the season finale
of Africa’s Business Heroes, a reality TV show created by his own philanthropic organization.
However, he dropped out of the appearance and the show’s broadcast was postponed, reported Hollywood Reporter.
Formerly known for his government connections and rare outspokenness, Jack Ma’s trouble
with the Chinese government began when he gave a speech criticizing China’s regulators
and state-owned banks for their ‘backwardness’.
His remarks are said to have infuriated Beijing’s party brass, leading to
Chinese President Xi Jinping to personally order a halt to the offering by Alibaba’s financial affiliate company,
Ant Financial, which was set to raise USD 34 billion in the biggest stock-market debut in history, Hollywood Reporter.
According to a report by The New York Times, Jack Ma publicly castigated financial regulators for being obsessed with minimizing risk and accused China’s banks of behaving like ‘pawnshops’ by lending only to those who could put up collateral.