How a Short Speech Led to Jack Ma China's Most Famous Billionaire Losing Half His Wealth Jack Ma Aliens Tips

How a Short Speech Led to Jack Ma China’s Most Famous Billionaire Losing Half His Wealth

How a Short Speech Led to Jack Ma China's Most Famous Billionaire Losing Half His Wealth

In 2020, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, was the richest person in China and one of the most famous individuals globally.

Jack Ma had been out of the spotlight in recent years, and within three years, he lost more than half of his previous wealth.

Analysts attribute what happened to Jack Ma to a speech in which he criticized the Chinese legislative system, accusing it of stifling innovation.

In October 2020, Chinese company ANT Group was set to raise around $34.5 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) valuing it at $313 billion. Not only was this IPO the largest in China, but it was also set to be the largest IPO in history. However, on the day before the IPO, the Chinese government decision to halt it shattered Jack Ma’s hopes.

According to a recent Fortune report, Ma’s wealth decreased to below $30 billion by the end of June last year. This means that Ma lost more than half of his wealth within three years, and this drastic change requires an explanation of Jack Ma’s success story and how he went from an unknown figure to one of the most famous personalities in the world only to return to hiding from the limelight.

Rise and Establishment of Alibaba

Throughout the years, Jack Ma was the richest person in China and one of the wealthiest individuals globally, akin to Elon Musk and Bill Gates in fame. Ma accumulated immense wealth as the founder of the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, which grew to become a company valued in hundreds of billions of dollars and one of the largest players in both wholesale and retail markets in China and globally.

Much of Jack Ma’s fame stems from his exceptional success story, which gave hope to many around the world. Ma began his journey by facing repeated rejections in his attempts to attend university and was turned down for many jobs initially. For years, he worked as an English teacher and attempted to launch several failed businesses, but he found success when he started Alibaba in 1999, specializing in wholesale trade initially.

By 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic, Jack Ma’s wealth was estimated at around $61 billion according to Fortune. At that time, a significant portion of his wealth was concentrated in Alibaba, which he founded two decades ago. However, a substantial part of his wealth came from the massive valuation of ANT Group, which started in 2014 before being renamed. The company had been successful enough to reach 1.3 billion users and over 80 million sellers.

Few Words Enough to Change a Billionaire’s Fate

Given its massive success in user acquisition in China, ANT Group’s IPO was planned for October 2020, with plans to sell shares worth $37.5 billion and value the company at $315 billion. If successful, this would have been the largest IPO in history, surpassing Saudi Aramco’s IPO, which raised over $26 billion in 2019.

However, just days before the ANT Group IPO, Jack Ma participated in a conference in China as a speaker. During his speech, he delivered severe criticisms of Chinese legislators, particularly in the banking and financial sectors. Ma spoke about how these sectors suffered from outdated mentalities that stifled innovation and needed to change for them to truly flourish.

Ma had already stepped down from Alibaba’s board of directors before these events due to government pressure, according to reports. Therefore, the repercussions of his critical speech were not entirely surprising to observers of Chinese affairs but left a significant controversy.

How a Short Speech Led to Jack Ma China's Most Famous Billionaire Losing Half His Wealth

Alibaba’s Future

Before his disappearance, Ma was a public figure who often made appearances on stages and events.

Chinese authorities swiftly intervened to suspend the ANT Group IPO, and simultaneously, Ma vanished from public view entirely. During the period between October 2020 and January 2021, Jack Ma was completely out of sight, with no information about his whereabouts. He missed several planned appearances, sparking speculation that he had been imprisoned or even killed, while the prevailing justifications for his disappearance were that he was under house arrest and forced into silence by Chinese authorities.

Ma reappeared after 3 months of absence, but only through a video call to a group of Chinese teachers (given his background as a former teacher). He then disappeared again, with reports of sightings surfacing every few months, but his previous enthusiasm and open personality vanished completely with no interviews, statements, or clear information about his life throughout this period.

During Ma’s disappearance, Chinese authorities launched a massive campaign to regulate the technology and financial sectors in the country. While Chinese companies previously operated with significant freedom and evident monopolistic behaviors, there is now much greater regulation in these sectors, limiting any single company’s ability to dominate a market independently. These efforts culminated in Ma being completely ousted from the management of ANT Group in January 2023, followed by a hefty fine of $1 billion imposed on the company in early July.

Currently, sources estimate that the value of ANT Group has significantly collapsed, decreasing by about 75% to approximately $78 billion. As a result, Ma’s wealth, according to the renowned Fortune magazine, has fallen to below $30 billion, less than half of his massive wealth in 2020.

Jack Ma remains one of the richest individuals in the world with considerable influence and power. However, his trajectory has become the most famous example of a recurring pattern among wealthy Chinese individuals who establish giant companies and grow significantly in power and influence, only to disappear and relinquish control of their companies without any prior warning after changes in the attitudes of Chinese governmental and legislative authorities towards them.

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