One of the world’s richest billionaires, Jack Ma, has reportedly gone missing.
Yes, missing. Vanished into thin air. What’s more concerning are the events and circumstances that led to his disappearance.
So, how can a man with billions to spend on bodyguards and top-notch private security go missing?
Jack Ma, where are you?
Some of you may be thinking of an alien abduction theory but that’s unlikely the case.
According to The Telegraph
, Jack Ma failed to show up for the finale of his own talent show ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’.
He was replaced by another Alibaba executive and his photo was also mysteriously removed from the show’s website.
An Alibaba spokesperson says the founder could “no longer be part of the finale judge panel” due to “a schedule conflict”, as reported by the Financial Times.
The tech billionaire has not been seen in public since 24 October after he gave a controversial speech that criticised the financial supervision system in China at the Bund Summit in Shanghai, in front of the country’s top financial leaders.
Among the things he said in his speech was China’s traditional banks were still operating on a “pawnshop mentality” which will in turn, make the bank incapable of supporting the financial needs of the world in future.
also highlighted that one of Ma’s business entities, Ant Group, was placed under the Chinese government supervision following his speech.
Just 10 days after appearing at the summit, Ant Group’s US$37 billion dual IPO were suspended at the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchange.
However, this is not the first time a billionaire or a wealthy businessman has gone missing in China after criticising the government. Here are some of the more notable dissapearing acts:
Xiao Jianhua is a prominent Chinese financier and is the 32nd richest man in China when he was reportedly abducted by Chinese security agents
in February 2017. Xiao, who was staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, was reportedly escorted to the mainland. Xiao, who has ties to senior Communist Party officials including Chinese President Xi Jinping, was reportedly involved in a corruption scandal.
The billionaire chairman of of China's leading clothing brand Metersbonwe, Zhou Chengjian reportedly went missing in January of 2015. According to a statement released by the company, Zhou, who is worth USD4 billion (RM16 billion), was reportedly held by the authorities
to facilitate investigations. Zhou reportedly turned up to work a week later with the company's board secretary Tu Ke, who had also temporarily vanished from sight.
In December 2015, Guo Guangchang reportedly went missing for a week
. The 48-year-old, worth an estimated USD6.9 billion (RM27.7 billion) and known as the Warren Buffet of China, reportedly went out of contact after Beijing launched a series of investigations into brokerages that the government suspected of profiting from the dramatic falls on the Chinese stock markets. The CEO of Fosun Group, who owns Club Med and Cirque du Soleil, reappeared one week later.
Poon Ho Man
The chief executive of the China Aircraft Leasing Group, Poon Ho Man, reportedly went missing in June 2015 after tendering his resignation letter. Those looking for him was told by the firm that he could no longer be contacted
. According to Bloomberg
, Poon was under investigation as part of a corruption probe at the time. After mysteriously disappearing, he mysteriously appeared in Hong Kong six months later.
So, what do you think happened to Jack Ma? Did he ‘mysteriously vanish’ or is he just laying low?