Published: Feb 02, 2021, 13:03 AM(IST)
Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has been left off a list of Chinese entrepreneurial leaders published by state media, the snub underscoring how just far he has run afoul of Beijing.
Shanghai Securities News said, “A generation of Chinese entrepreneurs emerged from the rigid structures of our old economic system with the desire to escape poverty and passion to achieve business ambitions.
China’s best-known businessman was not mentioned in a front-page article published by a newspaper backed state-run Xinhua News Agency. Instead, Huawei Technologies’ Ren Zhengfei, Xiaomi Corp’s Lei Jun and BYD’s Wang Chuanfu were lauded for their contributions.
The editorial, published on the same day when Alibaba will also report its latest quarterly earnings may help assuage fears that Tencent may get caught up in a broader industry crackdown which is now focused on Ma’s Alibaba and the Ant Group Co.
The catalyst for Ma’s current woes was an Oct. 24 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory system, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the fintech giant’s listing.
Regulators have since launched an anti-trust probe into the tech sector with Alibaba taking much of the heat, while tighter regulations for Ant Group are also being considered.
Jack Ma, who is not known for shying away from the limelight, subsequently disappeared from the public eye for about three months, triggering frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He re-emerged last month with a 50-second video appearance.
The Shanghai Securities News said that while some of the entrepreneurs it praised had once behaved like “reckless heroes” in their efforts to break away from an old, rigid economic system, they now led “a group of companies that respected the rules of development and abided by market rules.”