Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Has Been Spotted ‘Painting Watercolors’ In Japan After China’s Tech Crackdown


Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and once China’s richest business leader, has been living in central Tokyo for nearly six months, despite Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on the country’s technology sector and its most influential executives.

According to the Financial Times, Ma has been keeping a low profile while pursuing hobbies such as watercolour painting, art collecting, soaking in hot springs, and skiing in the countryside outside of Tokyo.

Ma, whose net fortune is estimated to be $30.2 billion by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, mainly had vanished from the public spotlight since October 2020, when he openly attacked state banks of having a “pawnshop mentality” and called for bold new players to offer credit to the collateral poor.

Since then, both his businesses, Ant and the e-commerce giant Alibaba, have faced plenty of challenges. Last year, Chinese regulators cancelled Ant’s $37 billion initial public offering and penalised Alibaba $2.8 billion for antitrust violations.

Alibaba’s share price fell, costing Ma his position as China’s richest businessman. Ma’s net wealth peaked at more than $60 billion in the days before his criticism of state authorities.

Since then, Ma has gone silent, cancelling TV appearances and avoiding social media. That has prompted a flurry of speculation about what might happen to Ma, China’s biggest global business celebrity and a symbol of its tech boom.

Ma has recently made headlines after being sighted on a yacht off the coast of the Spanish island of Mallorca. He also went to a university in the Netherlands to learn about sustainable food production.

Ma was also spotted playing golf in the Czech Republic last year.

According to the Financial Times, Ma has restricted himself to a few private members’ clubs in Tokyo’s neighbourhoods of Ginza and Marunouchi. But, according to sources, he’s also brought his personal chef and security squad and become a passionate modern art collector.


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