Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma now lives in Tokyo, the FT reported.
The once high-profile Ma angered Chinese authorities in 2020 and has since disappeared from public view.
Ma still lays low in Tokyo and socializes mainly within private clubs.
Once one of China̵[ads1]7;s richest businessmen, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma largely disappeared from public view two years ago after a run-in with authorities. He has now reappeared in Tokyo, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday, citing people with direct knowledge of his whereabouts.
Ma, an outspoken teacher turned tech titan, was once a high-profile jetsetter who was the face of China’s Big Tech. But he has been low since October 2020, after giving a speech criticizing China’s financial regulatory system.
His words angered Chinese authorities, prompting intense regulatory scrutiny of his businesses and a broader crackdown on technology companies in the country.
There has been intense speculation about Ma’s whereabouts since he disappeared from the limelight.
One of the last sightings of the billionaire was in July this year, when he visited Wageningen University & Research in July, the Dutch institution announced on its website.
Although he has lived in Tokyo for almost half a year, Ma has kept a low profile in the city and socializes mainly in several private members’ clubs, according to the FT. He also spends his time in Japan visiting hot springs and rural ski resorts with his family, according to media reports.
While based in Tokyo, Ma has made regular trips to the US and tech hub Israel, according to the FT.
Like China, Japan had some of the world’s toughest border controls during the pandemic, but visa-free travel resumed last month. In contrast, Covid lockdowns still persist in China, which led to rare protests against the authorities last weekend.
The spotlight on Ma’s activities coincided with Beijing’s push for “shared prosperity” – a concept that the rich must share their wealth with the poor to create a more equal society. The surge, which intensified from 2020, has hit major technology and real estate firms, which were forced to reduce their debt levels as authorities tried to control high house prices.
This weighed on Chinese technology and real estate firms, sending the net worth of the country’s richest plummeting. Ma, which at its peak was worth about $61 billion in October 2020, is now worth about $30.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s partly because Alibaba’s share price has fallen about 75% from its 2020 peak.
Ma stepped down as chairman of Alibaba in 2019. He remains on the board of the Jack Ma Foundation, which he founded.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request from Insider for comment.
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