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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Jack Ma Return To China Means Xi Needs Billionaires

When Jack Ma publicly grumbled about stifling regulation in October 2020, Xi Jinping made clear it would not tolerate criticism, crushing Ma’s hopes to float his payments business Ant Financial and sending him into the doghouse.


Photo Insert: Last week, Jack Ma materialized in his homeland for the first time in a year, making a low-key appearance at a school near Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.



Since then, little has been seen of the billionaire, who is a member of the Communist Party of China and owner of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Matt Oliver reported for The Telegraph.


But last week, Jack Ma materialized in his homeland for the first time in a year, making a low-key appearance at a school near Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.



Experts say it may signal Beijing is bringing China’s entrepreneurial class back from the cold as Xi scrambles to salvage an economy ravaged by "zero Covid" policies and save face.


“There has been a tactical move by Xi, post-Covid, to ease pressure on the economy, because things are in a really bad shape,” says Prof. Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute.


All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

“What you have to understand about Xi is he is as ideological as you can get when he can get his way. But when he scents danger, he is a pragmatic realist. When the economy is in serious trouble, then his hold on power is potentially being undermined. And he knows that he still needs the likes of Jack Ma and Alibaba,” he added.


Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

Ma’s reemergence coincides with a visit to China by Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, and a host of other US business chiefs, including Qualcomm boss Cristiano Amon, Pfizer boss Albert Bourla and hedge fund tycoon Ray Dalio.


They are attending a three-day forum dubbed as “China’s Davos.”





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