The shares of the Alibaba group, owner of services with the e-commerce site Aliexpress, surged 5% suddenly on Tuesday (5). The reason is a report on the CNBC website that claims that the company’s former CEO and founder, Jack Ma, would not be missing, but acting in a “more discreet” way.
The rumor began to circulate in the last week, after the publication of articles indicating that the businessman had been without a public appearance or posting on social networks for two months – a very different behavior from the billionaire previously. Ma was even replaced at the last minute as a judge on a reality show by “scheduling conflicts”.
“What I can tell you is that he is most likely in Hangzhou, where Alibaba’s headquarters is, and is less visible on purpose. But that doesn’t mean he is missing,” says journalist David Faber. The original reports only indicated the lack of appearances by the businessman and caused Alibaba’s shares to drop by 3%, but more serious speculation about the whereabouts also began to circulate.
Ma is also responsible for the Ant Group, an investment group that would make the largest public offering of shares in China’s history in 2020. Pressures by Chinese government regulation led to the IPO being canceled, with the businessman criticizing the political actions and generating a crisis with the government of President Xi Jinping. The company is now set to be investigated for monopoly practices in China.