Earlier this month, the Chinese tech tycoon, Jack Ma, made his first public appearance ever since the suspension of Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO in November. Ant is an affiliate company of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant that he co-founded. The crackdown on Ant followed Jack Ma’s comments in late October during a public event in Shanghai. He had then criticised Chinese regulators for harbouring a “pawnshop mentality,” focusing on pledges and collaterals when it came to finance.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s reportage, this was the last straw in the battle between the regulators and Jack Ma, with President Xi Jinping personally engaged in greenlighting regulations that would scuttle Ant’s plans. The politics of personalities, of course, is a key component of all of this. However, viewing the developments with regard to Ant simply through such a prism or as an issue of Jack Ma being tamed after he had become too big for his boots is missing the woods for the trees.
Read the full article in Hindustan Times.