Teknoku.me – Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has “disappeared” since October 2020 after criticizing the Chinese government. Jack Ma then appeared in public again about three months later.
To be precise, in January 2021, Jack appeared at a 50-second videoconference. Even though he reappeared, the public is still curious, what exactly did Jack Ma do while in hiding?
SoftBank CEO, Masayoshi Son, uncovered the puzzle. The Japanese billionaire said he kept in touch with Ma while he was hiding from the public.
Son and Jack Ma are indeed best friends, both on a business and personal basis. In business, Son’s company, SoftBank, has been an investor of Alibaba for the past 20 years.
When Alibaba went public in 2014, SoftBank made a huge profit, with its investment value doubling, from the US $ 20 million to US $ 60 billion at that time.
“However, we are not just talking about business,” Son said at an event recently.
“Ma likes drawing and he sent me some of his drawings,” said Son.
Son then replied to the pictures Ma sent with his homemade pictures. Sometimes, Son takes the time to draw before sleeping at night.
“About 30 minutes before going to bed, I made some pictures and showed him,” said Son, who called Ma an old friend.
Son also said that before the pandemic, he and Ma always had dinner together to discuss business and life. Ma and Son serve on the boards of directors at each other’s companies. It seems that their friendship in the realm of business is continuing.
“(SoftBank) will continue to be Alibaba’s largest shareholder and Alibaba will be our most important investment asset,” Son wrote in a corporate report last July.
Jack Ma is not worried
When asked about the problems of Chinese regulators that are wrapping Alibaba, Son said he was not worried and considered that anti-monopoly regulations were necessary.
“I think what is being discussed at the moment is something that the United States and European countries have done and the rules do not go beyond what we see in those countries,” said Son.
Son likens Alibaba to a “golden egg” which SoftBank is incubating as its “mother”. He understands that many people are worried about Alibaba being under the spotlight of the Chinese government regarding the alleged monopoly.
“The (Alibaba) business is actually operating smoothly and growing,” added Son.
However, Son was reluctant to comment on why Ma gave such harsh criticism of the Chinese government last October.
“I don’t know the details. So I hesitate to comment on that,” he said.
Before being reported “missing”, Ma had criticized the Chinese government in a speech in Shanghai, October 24. Ma pointed out that banks in China operate with a “pawnshop” mentality, concerning collateral for credit.
Ma also criticized the existing banking regulations and considered them to hinder innovation and must be reformed immediately to boost the economy. It seems that the Chinese Government is less than willing to accept this criticism.
The government then tightened the fintech regulations so that it would obstruct the Ant Group IPO plan in November 2020. Not only that, but the Government also formed a special task force to oversee the Ant Group.
Beijing is also drafting new anti-monopoly rules to “tame” China’s tech giants, such as Alibaba and Tencent.