Billionaire Jack Ma was seen in Australia recently, a development confirmed by China’s Yicai media outlet. The media group confirmed that Jack Ma has been spending time in Australia after the Alibaba co-founder was spotted at a hotel in Melbourne. Pictures of Ma are also circulating on the internet, however their authenticity is yet to be verified.
While it is not clear what is on Ma’s agenda in Australia, he has a close connection with the Morley family who helped him during his teenage years. He remained in touch with the family and in 2017 set up a $20 million university scholarship fund in the name of his late mentor Ken Morley.
Jack Ma has been on a global tour since 2022, something he had hit the pause button on some time back. He visited Tokyo a countryside in Japan before going to Thailand. He reportedly toured foodie spots in Thailand and took in a Muay Thai boxing match. He was in Hong Kong last month, meeting finance and tech executives.
The news of his tour comes as reports suggest that Beijing is toning down on its campaign to curtail the influence and power of internet giants. In January, Ma ceded controlling rights to his Ant Group Co. fintech empire. Experts saw it as a sign that the crackdown might be nearing an end.
Ma went missing in November 2020 and wasn’t seen in public for several months. News that Ma had been missing came after authorities called off the IPO of his Ant Group parent company. However, Alibaba never said that Ma was unreachable. In fact, several media reported suggested that he had been traveling in Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.
Recently, Bao Fan, the chairman and chief executive of China Renaissance investment bank, had also gone missing.
“The company has been unable to contact Mr. Bao,” China Renaissance said in an announcement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, without offering further details.
(With inputs from agencies)
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