China’s biggest e-commerce giant Alibaba, known as China’s Amazon, faces a hitch after Chinese regulators launched an investigation against it.
The State Market Supervision Administration issued a one-line statement on Christmas Eve that it had registered an antitrust inquiry on Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd over their “suspected monopolistic practices”. It also taxed the company half a million yuan ($99,000) 10 days earlier for breaking anti-competition law. The inquiry resulted in the online shopping and cloud computing giant’s stock price plunge and its market value fade.
This step has been issued as the speculation about Mr. Ma’s disappearance takes rounds. He hasn’t been seen in public since shortly after he gave a controversial speech in late October.
Jack Ma is the second richest man in China and the 20th richest person in the world. He shot to fame after the success of Alibaba. Mr. Ma stepped down from Alibaba as chairman, in September 2019 but still remains its biggest individual shareholder. Mr. Ma was last seen in public on October 31, at a live-streamed Alibaba opening gala to launch Singles Day, the world’s largest shopping event.
Speculations about his disappearance are spreading fast and wide on Chinese social media platforms as he went missing following a controversial speech he gave at a summit on October 24. In the speech, Mr. Ma made a public attack on the country’s financial watchdogs and banks, saying that “China’s financial sector basically doesn’t have a system”. Chinese banks, he said, operated with a “pawnshop” mentality. Following this, in early November, Mr.Ma was summoned by four Chinese regulators for questioning.