Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has revealed that the company’s founder Jack Ma is currently keeping a low profile, CNBC reports.
During a recent interview on "Squawk Box," Tsai said Ma is "lying low right now," adding that he's "taken up painting as a hobby."
"The idea that Jack has this enormous amount of power, I think that’s not quite right. He is just like you and me, he’s a normal individual," Tsai said. "He built a tremendous company of this scale, he’s done great things for society... I think today he just wants to sort of say, ‘Hey, I want to focus on what I really want to spend time on,’ which is all the hobbies, all the philanthropy."
Pointing at the sizeable $2.8 billion fine Alibaba had been slapped with in April for the company’s alleged anti-competitive business practices, Tsai said they’ve "gotten that behind us."
"I think you have to separate what’s happening to Jack and what’s happening to our business," he remarked. “Our business is under some kind of restructuring on the financial side of things, and also in antitrust regulation."
In November 2020, the $37 billion IPO of Ant Group, an affiliate company of Alibaba, was halted by Chinese authorities following Ma’s criticism of Chinese regulators at a Shanghai event.
In December 2020, Chinese regulators launched an anti-trust probe into Alibaba citing reports of monopolistic behaviour.