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Speculations are rife around Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s whereabouts after reports surfaced that the high-profile businessman has not made a public appearance in more than two months.
Ma also failed to appear as scheduled in the final episode of his own talent show, Africa’s Business Heroes, which gives budding African entrepreneurs the chance to compete for a slice of US $1.5 million.
He was supposed to be in the panel of judges but was replaced by an Alibaba executive in the November final, UK’s Telegraph reported. His picture was also nowhere on the website.
An Alibaba spokesperson said Ma was unable to take part on the judging panel “due to a schedule conflict”, according to Financial Times.
Ma’s business empire, Ant Group, has been under scrutiny by Beijing ever since Ma delivered a controversial speech in Shanghai on 24 October that criticized China’s regulation system for stifling innovation and likened global banking rules to an “old people’s club”