Chinese billionaire and the founder of Alibaba Group has not been seen in public for over two months since he criticised the Chinese government in October 2020, raising speculations on whether he is actually missing.
Ma was set to appear on his Africa’s Business Heroes show which gives budding African entrepreneurs the chance to compete for a slice of US $1.5 million.
He however did not appear, and his photos were pulled down from the show’s website, with the management citing “schedule conflict”.
“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),” an Alibaba spokesperson said.
While speaking in Shanghai in October 2020, Ma accused Xi Jinping’s government of “stifling business innovation” through ‘pawnshop’ of financial regulators and state-owned banks.
“Today’s financial system is the legacy of the Industrial Age. We must set up a new one for the next generation and young people. We must reform the current system,” he said.
Chinese officials suspended Ma’s blockbuster $37billion initial public offering of his Ant Group on the direct order of President Jinping according to the Wall Street Journal.
Chinese authorities launched an anti-monopoly investigation into Alibaba in late December and told Ant Group to restructure its operations.
Ma’s last tweet was on 10 October last year.