June 17, 2021: According to a company executive, Alibaba founder Jack Ma is staying out of the spotlight, focusing his efforts on hobbies and philanthropy.
“He’s lying low right now; I talk to him every day,” Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s executive vice-chairman, said on Tuesday in an interview on CNBC. “He’s doing well. He’s taken painting as his hobby; it’s pretty good.”
He has had a rocky year with the Chinese government, which lead to time out of the public eye. Ma commented negatively about Chinese financial regulators just days ahead of the initial public offering of Ant Group in Shanghai and Hong Kong in October, which would have been the world’s most enormous. Although, regulators effectively pulled the plug on the IPO before it was set to take place.
After the IPO was suspended, Ma dropped out of the spotlight, which leads to the missing rumors.
“The idea that Ma has this enormous amount of power, I think that’s not quite right. He is just like you and me; he’s a normal individual. He built a tremendous company of this scale, and he’s done great things for society; I think today he wants to sort of say, ‘Hey, I want to focus on what I want to spend time,’ which is with the hobbies and all the philanthropy.”
In December, Regulators also opened a probe into the company’s monopolistic practices. The government reaches the company with a $2.8 billion fine in April, which said it abused its market dominance.
Tsai said the company is moving ahead from the fine.
“I think you have to separate what’s happening to Jack and what’s happening to our business. Our business is under some restructuring on the financial side of things and also in antitrust regulation. We had to pay a big fine. But we’ve gotten that behind us, so we’re looking forward,” Tsai added.