Jack Ma

The Alipay logo is seen at the Asian Games 2023, Hangzhou, China. (SPH Media)

Has Alipay become a state-owned enterprise?

With Alibaba founder Jack Ma ceding control of Alipay in January 2023, and the People's Bank of China granting the application for no controlling shareholder at Alipay a year later, no single individual is in control of the company's decisions, and no shareholder holds more than 30% of its shares. This is seen as a critical step before Ant Group's IPO. But, has Alipay become a "state-owned enterprise"?
Alibaba founder Jack Ma visits Hangzhou Yungu School in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China in this handout picture released on 27 March 2023. (Hangzhou Yungu School/Handout via Reuters)

Jack Ma has returned but Chinese entrepreneurs will still have a hard time

Jack Ma’s recent return to China has made waves and offers some hope for the revival of the entrepreneur class in China. But this group of people have never shaken off their dual identity as entrepreneur-capitalists. With the rise of a group of diehards romanticising the glory of past eras, entrepreneurs, and in turn the development of China’s market economy, face obstacles.
This file photo taken on 2 October 2018 shows Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attending the opening debate of the 2018 edition of the WTO public forum on sustainable trade, at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP)

Where to now for Alibaba in the post-Jack Ma era?

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has given up controlling rights in the company he founded, Ant Group Co. All eyes are now on what lies ahead for Ant and Alibaba, which owns 33% of the company and was co-founded by Ma.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

How Jack Ma’s surname sent shockwaves through China’s capital market

News of the arrest of an individual surnamed Ma in the technology industry in Hangzhou on suspicion of endangering national security led to a sharp drop in the stock market, as people associated the name with Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba. Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu notes that perhaps this is not so surprising, given Jack Ma’s previous trouble with the Chinese government, especially during the crackdown on the “disorderly expansion of capital”.
People walk along at financial district of Lujiazui in Shanghai, China, 15 October 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China's 'poor' ultra-rich can truly become world-class entrepreneurs

Deng Qingbo finds that those who have “grown rich first” during China’s initial period of reform and opening up, and who have grown rich a second time by consolidating their holdings, now find themselves locked in an endless pursuit of wealth with no clear direction to better themselves. He thinks it is high time that they “grow wealthy for the third time” in the spiritual sense, and give back to society by developing a truly influential and well-respected corporate culture. It works out well that this would be in line with China’s “common prosperity” goals.
Left to right: Chinese pop culture icon Gao Xiaosong (Internet), Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma (Bloomberg), and actress/producer Vicki Zhao (Weibo).

Celebrities scrubbed from the Chinese internet: Victims of China’s social revolution?

Personalities such as actress/producer Vicki Zhao and music multi-hyphenate Gao Xiaosong have recently been scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Curiously, among the “wrongs” they are thought to have committed, a common one between them is having strong links to big capital Alibaba. What are the authorities saying with this latest clampdown on well-connected pop culture icons? Is an engineered social revolution under way?
A Didi logo is seen at the headquarters of Didi Chuxing in Beijing, China, 20 November 2020. (Florence Lo/File Photo/Reuters)

Ride-hailing giant Didi slapped with Chinese cybersecurity review days after IPO

Shortly after Chinese ride-hailing app Didi launched its IPO on the NYSE, the Chinese authorities announced that the company would be subjected to a cybersecurity review. Didi had earlier kept a low profile, knowing its listing was a risky move. But few expected the company to take its first hit from China and not the US. Could this be China’s way of discouraging homegrown firms from passing their profits to foreign investors? Yu Zeyuan reports.
Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba Group, arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

What the Chinese government wants to tell Alibaba and China's tech giants [Part II]

Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion RMB after an anti-monopoly probe. Commentator Yuan Guobao observes that Alibaba is not the only tech giant in China accused of monopolistic practices; for that matter, the “big four” companies in the US have also come under the spotlight. All this suggests that on a global level, tech companies must be prepared to adhere to a strict regulatory environment, even as they break new ground.
An Alibaba sign is seen outside the company's office in Beijing, China, on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is Alibaba doomed? [Part I]

Alibaba was recently slapped with a 18.2 billion RMB fine and has acquiesced to state authorities’ demands for “rectification''. Commentator Yuan Guobao asserts that Alibaba’s “choose one out of two” policy of tying online merchants down to exclusive deals was already sounding alarm bells. Jack Ma’s politically incorrect speech at the Shanghai Bund Summit may have been a fire starter, but the tech giant’s troubles have been brewing for quite some time.