Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Company, has been left off a list of Chinese entrepreneurial figures released by state media, the snub underscoring how far with Beijing he has fallen out of favour.
China’s best known businessman was not listed in a front-page article published by the Shanghai Securities News. Instead, Ren Zhengfei of Huawei Technologies, Lei Jun of Xiaomi Corp and Wang Chuanfu of BYD were rewarded for their contributions.
It was announced on Tuesday, when its last quarterly earnings will also be posted by Alibaba. A request for comment was not promptly addressed by the e-commerce giant.
An October 24, 2020 speech in which he blasted China’s regulatory framework was the impetus for Ma’s current troubles, leading to the suspension of his Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO just days before the listing of the fintech giant.
Regulators have also opened an anti-trust investigation with Alibaba taking most of the pressure into the tech industry, although stricter controls for the Ant Community are also being taken into consideration.
Ma, who is not expected to shy away from the limelight, eventually vanished for about three months from the public eye, sparking frenzied speculation about his whereabouts. He re-emerged with a 50-second video appearance last month.
The Shanghai Securities News said that while some of the firms it admired had once acted like “reckless heroes” in their attempts to break away from an ancient, rigid economic structure, they now headed “a group of businesses that respected the rules of growth and complied with the rules of the market.”