TOKYO, Japan — Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been living in Tokyo for almost six months after disappearing from public view following a crackdown on China’s tech sector, the Financial Times said Wednesday. reported, citing several unnamed sources.
According to reports, he also travels “regularly” to Israel and the United States. Ma and his Alibaba Group have invested in over 20 Israeli startups over the years, including Twiggle, Infinity Augmented Reality, Lumus and ThetaRay. Alibaba was part of the Chinese consortium that bought Israeli gaming company Playtika (now the publicly traded gaming empire) in 2016 for $4.4 billion.
Ma has been to Israel many times in recent years, including meeting with then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018, visiting leading tech entrepreneurs, and speaking to students at Tel Aviv University.
The billionaire has kept a low profile since the crackdown in China, where regulators scrapped Ma’s Ant Group IPO and imposed record fines on Alibaba.
But the FT said he spent most of the past six months with family in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, and visited the US and Israel.
According to a British newspaper, Ma attended several private members’ clubs in Tokyo and became an “avid collector” of Japanese contemporary art, seeking to extend his business interests to sustainability. It is said that
Ma has been spotted elsewhere since he virtually disappeared from public view in China last year, including on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
In recent years, Chinese officials have rallied against anti-competitive practices by some big players out of concern that major internet companies are controlling too much data and expanding too quickly. I have set my sights on suspicion.
In July of this year, it was reported that Ma plans to hand over control of Ant Group, placate Chinese regulators, and revive an initial public offering in the digital payments sector.
His e-commerce giant Alibaba reported flat revenue growth for the first time in August as China battled an economic slowdown and a resurgence of COVID-19.
U.S. authorities have put the company on a watch list, and failure to comply with disclosure orders could result in a delisting in New York and a crash in the stock price.