Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of tech giant Alibaba and the totem of China’s entrepreneurial brilliance, finds himself up against a Communist leadership seemingly intent on hacking back his empire and issuing a lesson that no one is bigger than the party.
Ma, with a fortune of around 58 billion dollars, has already faced the disgrace of having the world’s biggest-ever IPO stopped by Chinese regulators days before its launch.
But Chinese regulators abruptly pulled the deal, over what initially appeared to be concerns about the company’s reach into the finances of hundreds of millions of Chinese.
It was a brutal public rebuke to Ma, who was then called in for dressing down by regulators and has since evaporated from the spotlight.
Now China’s poster boy for enterprise finds himself again caught in the glare of the Communist-run state, with the announcement of an anti-monopoly probe into Alibaba and the summoning of Ant Group by regulators.