Wild ideas about Ma after Africa blank

Central Station | 5 Jan 2021

Billionaire Ant Group boss Jack Ma Yun skipped a recent taping of an African TV program he created, spurring speculation about his whereabouts and the state of a probe into his internet-based empire.

Ma hasn't been seen in public since before Chinese regulators torpedoed Ant's potentially world-beating IPO in Hong Kong and Shanghai then followed up by tightening fintech regulations and started taking close looks into his Alibaba Group.

And the Financial Times has reported that the showrunners of the shark-tank-like Africa's Business Heroes replaced Ma as a judge in a telecast and removed his picture from the show's website.

That was around the same time Ma delivered a now-infamous rebuke of government overseers having "pawnshop" mentalities.

The flamboyant Ma - long a fixture on the international conference circuit - all but vanished from view weeks ago, though Bloomberg noted that he was advised by authorities to stay in the country.

That came amid word his companies face being carved up.

An Alibaba spokesperson said Ma couldn't attend the telecast due to scheduling conflicts, while not saying where he might be.

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