12:01 GMT18 January 2021
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    The shuffle of the show's panel come as Chinese authorities conduct an antitrust probe into the business group founded by Jack Ma.

    Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma has been replaced as a judge on Africa's Business Heroes, the talent show he set up, the Financial Times reports.

    According to the newspaper, Ma's photo has been removed from the show's website and he was "left out" of a promotional video.

    "Due to a schedule conflict Mr Ma could no longer be part of the finale judge panel of Africa’s Business Heroes earlier this year (2020)," a spokesperson for Alibaba said.

    While the final of the show took place in November, its TV broadcast is apparently delayed until spring.

    During the show, contestants pitched their business ideas directly to Ma in an attempt to win prizes offered by the Jack Ma Foundation.

    Ma’s absence comes amid an antitrust probe launched by Chinese authorities into e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which was founded by the businessman.

    The investigation was initiated after the Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended the planned record-setting initial public offering (IPO) of Alibaba-affiliated Ant Group in November, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that Ma offered to hand over parts of Ant Group to the Chinese government in an attempt to save the IPO.

    Tags:
    replacement, judge, show, talent, Jack Ma
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