The cold war brewing between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and the richest man in China has reached a point of no return. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Ma extended an olive branch to the CCP regime, in early November by offering parts of his fintech firm Ant Group to the nation. However, an egotistical Jinping refused to entertain Ma’s ceasefire initiative and sabotaged his company’s fortunes.
“You can take any of the platforms Ant has, as long as the country needs it,” Ma told regulators in the early November meeting, according to sources that spoke to the Journal.
Xi Jinping’s crusade against Ma started somewhere in October when the Alibaba founder described China’s financial regulation as outdated and badly suited for the upcoming fintech solution companies like Ant Group Co.
“China does not have a systemic financial risk problem,” Ma had said at the Bund Summit where he further added, “Chinese finance basically does not carry risk; rather, the risk comes from lacking a system. Good innovation is not afraid of regulation but is afraid of outdated regulation. We shouldn’t use the way to manage a train station to regulate an airport.”
Jack Ma’s fair criticism did not go down well with Xi, and in November, Xi Jinping’s administration abruptly halted a planned $37 billion stock listing by Alibaba’s Ant Group, which was set to be the world’s largest. The aforementioned Nov. 2 meeting took place a few days before Ant was supposed to go public.
Analysts remarked that the move to shatter Ant’s IPO was done to teach Ma a lesson – a lesson that he might be the richest man in the country but if he wanted to ply his trade within the sovereign boundaries of the authoritarian country, then he will have to adhere to CCP’s line and not speak ill of the party or the regulators, out in the public.
The ugly fight between Jinping’s CCP and billionaire Jack Ma took a symbolic yet threatening turn when the state-sponsored media started issuing veiled threats by putting up pictures which suggested that Ma could be blown up to smokes if he did not mend his ways.
As per the Chinese State media, the Communist nation could restrict the number of banks a single fintech platform can partner with. The object is to prevent any fintech platform from becoming a behemoth and securing a sizeable share in China’s massive market. Understandably, the primary target of the move is Jack Ma who Xi Jinping wants to hurt in any way whatsoever.
Reported a few days back by TFI, Xi Jinping is taking a volta face on the policies of Deng Xiaoping and harvesting private companies, one after another. Rather than arresting the slide by bailing out the private companies who have been troubled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the red tape of the communist regime — Xi Jinping is looking to engulf these firms and bring them under the umbrella of state-run companies.
As China prepares for its fourteenth Five-year plan, Xi seems to be targeting leading Chinese tech giants, which are a legacy of Hu Jintao’s era. Xi has vowed to step up “anti-trust efforts” and prevent “disorderly expansion of capital”, in the larger backdrop of vindictive action against tech firms like Alibaba and Tencent.
Jack Ma tried his best to douse the flames but it seems like Xi Jinping is hell-bent on igniting it otherwise. With no realistic chance of the President of China mending his ways, Ma and his companies could have a bleak future ahead.