Alibaba billionaire founder Jack Ma, who disappeared from Chinese public life last year after criticizing the country’s financial control system, is on vacation on the Spanish island of Ibiza, Hong Kong newspaper The Standard revealed today.
Ma flew to Spain in a private plane in the early hours of Saturday morning accompanied by other “billionaires and business associates”, after which he embarked in Ibiza on his yacht ‘Zen’, valued at 1.6 billion Hong Kong dollars (205.69 million dollars), according to the information.
Before flying to Spain, the tycoon spent several days in Hong Kong on a pleasure and business visit, the source added.
Ma, who managed to become China’s richest man after elevating his conglomerate to giant status, has been “missing” for months after he made a speech in October last year in which he was critical of China’s Communist Party.
Shortly thereafter, Chinese regulators suspended the IPO of Alibaba’s techno-financial (‘fintech’) firm Ant Group under more restrictive regulations for the sector.
After this episode, Ma stopped appearing in public until, at the end of January 2021, he recorded a speech to greet the winners of an award given by his foundation.
This “reappearance” curbed speculation about his whereabouts following friction with Beijing, but since then the tycoon has opted for a low profile with few public appearances.
Beijing allowed the technology sector to grow for years without much regulation, but in 2020 began a campaign of scrutiny that has resulted in sanctions for several companies in the industry.
Among them was Alibaba, which was hit with a hefty anti-trust fine of 18.2 billion yuan ($2.818 billion), the largest of its kind in the country’s history.