Where is Jack Ma? Alibaba’s Founder Has Kept a Low Profile Since October – The fate of Jack Ma, China’s high-profile and best known technology entrepreneur became the subject of intense speculation on social media and in the press this week, as the billionaire businessman disappeared from the public limelight after brushes with Chinese regulators in recent weeks.
Who is Jack Ma?
The 56-year-old former English teacher founded Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. from a small apartment in eastern China in 1999. The startup grew from a fledgling internet business matching wholesale buyers and sellers into one of a fast-growing technology empire, with business interests spanning e-commerce, cloud computing and logistics and annual sales in excess of $86 billion.
Alibaba’s success in e-commerce also helped fuel the rise of its companion payments app Alipay, which formed the basis for Ant Group Co., a separate finance affiliate controlled by Mr. Ma whose digital platforms handle online and physical store transactions every day for millions of Chinese. In September 2019, Mr. Ma retired, handing over the reins at Alibaba and turning his focus to philanthropy, traveling around the world to promote education, entrepreneurship and other causes.
Until recently, Mr. Ma, who is a Communist Party member, was held up as a role model by the Party for his contribution to the “digital economy.”