Spanish holiday for Jack Ma aboard his $1.6b mega yacht

Top News | Staff reporter 20 Oct 2021

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma Yun has headed to Spain for a holiday aboard his HK$1.6 billion yacht Zen after he was spotted in Hong Kong meeting with business partners in recent days.

A source familiar with Ma's itinerary said the trip to Europe was to inspect new technologies for agriculture and environment.

Largely out of public view since a regulatory clampdown began on his business empire late last year, Ma was spotted in Hong Kong early this month.

Ma then flew to Spain on his private jet in the early hours on Saturday, along with his billionaire friends and business partners, according to The Standard's sister publication Eastweek.

It was understood the group then boarded Ma's new yacht Zen in Ibiza to go on a sailing vacation.

It took four years for Dutch manufacturer Feedship to make Ma's mega yacht. The company only takes four yacht orders each year and all of its customers are billionaires.

The 290-foot-long Zen can carry up to 40 passengers, making it the 108th biggest yacht on Earth. It is over 2,500 tonnes, with a maximum sailing speed of 17 nautical miles per hour.

The interior was designed by De Voogt and Nauta Design. The boat is equipped with large ballrooms, entertainment rooms and dozens of guest rooms. It is understood that maintenance and repair fees cost HK$150 million each year.

A highly placed source said: "The mega yacht was finally commissioned last year, but Ma was busy with handling Alibaba's issues. The yacht had not been used.

"After the commission the yacht was mostly parked at Rhode Island in the United States. Sometimes it was at Massachusetts' Martin's Vineyard, a vacation hot spot for billionaires. It should be the first time Ma boarded his own yacht."

Ma was also said to have a tight schedule during his stay in Hong Kong, attending dinner gatherings. He played golf with close friends at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fan Ling and met multiple tycoons and business partners.

"It's unknown whether they have talked about businesses, but when Ma Yun is in Hong Kong, he would have dinner gatherings one after another, in addition to meeting friends for poker and karaoke," the source said.

It is understood that Ma had mostly stayed at his HK$1.5 billion house on Barker Road on The Peak.

Since a speech criticizing China's financial regulators in Shanghai last October, the billionaire has kept a low profile. This triggered a series of events that led to the shelving of Ant Group's large initial public offering.

Although Ma's public appearances in the mainland have been limited since then, speculation about his whereabouts continued, and the source said that Ma's visit to Hong Kong was his first to an Asian financial center since October last year.

The former English teacher disappeared from public view for three months, then resurfaced in January this year to talk with a group of teachers via video.

Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan (HK$22.16 billion) by the antitrust regulator in April this year.

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