Alibaba founder Jack Ma is ‘alive’ and ‘happy,’ top exec says after China’s tech crackdown

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Alibaba founder Jack Ma is “happy,” according to the company’s President Michael Evans. Te comments come as speculation about the billionaire’s activities continues following China’s crackdown on Ma’s empire.

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PARIS — Alibaba founder Jack Ma is “alive” and “happy,” the Chinese e-commerce giant’s president said Thursday, after speculation continues about the billionaire’s activities following Beijing’s intense crackdown on his tech empire.

“Well, first of all, Jack is alive. He’s well, he’s happy. He’s creative. He’s thinking. He’s teaching at a university in Tokyo, spending more time in China,” Alibaba President Michael Evans said at the Viva Tech conference in Paris.

The comments were in response to a question about Ma from Maurice Levy, the chairman of French advertising group Publicis. It underscored the continued interest in the billionaire’s whereabouts after he and Alibaba became the target of an intense regulatory crackdown by Beijing.

He cares … as much about this company today, as he did when he started, and I expect that that will continue for as long as Alibaba and Jack Ma are here.

Michael Evans

President, Alibaba

That scrutiny began in November 2020 when Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial technology affiliate also founded by Ma, was forced by regulators to cancel its initial public offering, which would have been the world’s largest.

Alibaba was hit by a $2.8 billion antitrust fine in 2021. Meanwhile, China’s technology sector has had to conform to a slew of new regulation around areas from competition to data privacy.

Ma was out of public view for a few months, sparking speculation he had gone missing.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is laying low for the time being, but he’s not missing, sources tell CNBC

Why are China's billionaires going under the radar?

Evans said Ma is still Alibaba’s biggest shareholder, which shows the billionaire’s commitment to the company.

“This is his company. So he cares … as much about this company today, as he did when he started, and I expect that that will continue for as long as Alibaba and Jack Ma are here,” Evans said.

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