Famous Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has not been seen for more than two months after publicly attacking Beijing finance officials — even skipping his own reality show, according to reports.
The Alibaba founder came under fire in October for a speech in which he attacked China’s financial regulatory system for stifling innovation, calling for reform of what he called an “old people’s club,” The Telegraph noted.
Within days, Chinese regulators halted a $37 billion stock debut of Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Group, and launched an anti-monopoly investigation of Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, known as the “Amazon of China.”
Ma has not been seen in public since his controversial speech, The Telegraph said, and his last tweet was even earlier in October.
Speculation started swirling about his whereabouts when he failed to show as a judge in the final of an “Apprentice”-style TV show he created, “Africa’s Business Heroes,” the UK’s Financial Times (FT) noted.
One of his last tweets had been about the show, with Ma gushing of the finalists, “I can’t wait to meet them!”
As well as being replaced for the final, Ma’s photograph was removed from the judging webpage, and he was left out of a promotional video, the FT said of the final filmed in November but yet to air in full.
A spokesman for Alibaba blamed a “schedule conflict” for him missing the final of his own show which he had excitedly tweeted about, the FT said.
“We do not have anything to add beyond that,” a spokesperson told Business Insider.
Before the scandal, Ma had been China’s richest man and was worth more than $60 billion, Business Insider said.
His net worth has since taken a $12 billion hit over the past two months as regulators honed in on his businesses, and he is now the fourth-richest person in China, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.