Jack Ma speaks publicly for the first time since the cancellation of the Ant Group IPO and the launch of an antitrust investigation against Alibaba

The businessman was last seen in October at a conference in Shanghai, where he criticised the Chinese authorities.

Jack Ma spoke via video link at a charity event, according to The Wall Street Journal. This is the businessman’s first public appearance since his last conference in October.

In October, Jack Ma spoke in Shanghai and openly criticised the country’s financial policies. For 20 minutes he told us that constant controls could “stifle” innovation in China. Lenders, regulators who don’t understand the internet and the “old timers” of the banking community have a “pawnbroker mentality”, Ma said.

Ant Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba, was preparing for a public offering that could be the largest in history – it wanted to raise more than $35 billion. On November 2, the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges halted the IPO after Jack Ma met with Chinese regulators.

On 24 December, Chinese authorities announced an antitrust investigation into Alibaba. On December 28, the People’s Bank of China urged Ant Group to focus only on the development of its payment service and hinted at the need to reorganise its business.

Following the authorities’ claims, Ant Group plans to spin off its financial divisions into a separate holding company.

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