- Alibaba bows to political pressure
- Loans to Cambodia irritate German government
- Ambassador Wu criticizes German China strategy
- EU fears Chinese interference in election campaign
- Taiwan’s relations with Paraguay in danger
- Computer model predicts failure of Taiwan invasion
- Hong Kong sports federations under pressure
- Opinion: Do not overemphasize dependencies
It was not too long ago that I visited Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou. The foreign journalists were proudly shown the company’s achievements, current projects and ideas for the future. It was all very impressive, Alibaba’s success with all its sub-companies like Ant Financial. And almost every sentence had one name in it: Jack Ma. Behind every success, behind every innovation at Alibaba was supposedly the company founder and boss himself.
But all this seems like something from a different age: Jack Ma has just announced his complete withdrawal from the company. And what would have been tantamount to the downfall of the corporate empire during my visit is now seen as liberation. Xi Jinping has sent the former superstar of the tech industry to the sidelines. In his analysis, Finn Mayer-Kuckuk shows how Ma became one of the most prominent victims of the Xi Doctrine – and why this should also give German investors food for thought.
In our second analysis, we look at the China-dominated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. It is only too keen to become a serious alternative to existing financial institutions, especially as a counterpart to the US-led World Bank. To achieve this, the AIIB advertises its high lending standards. With success: Germany is also a member of the AIIB and holds the largest voting rights after China, Russia and India, with around four percent.
Marcel Grzanna has taken a look at the supposedly high standards in a specific case in Cambodia – and found out: In practice, the supposedly high AIIB standards are astonishingly flexibly interpreted. The German government now also wants to investigate the accusations.
The party has broken Jack Ma politically
Jack Ma is visiting Thailand, according to social media, after reporters last identified Tokyo as his home. This means he is staying in neighboring countries – not in China. In Tokyo, he is apparently busy collecting art and spending much of his time at the yacht club or on his ship. Ma conspicuously stays away from Alibaba – the company he founded and stood for.
Jack Ma’s behavior fits with his formal withdrawal from control of Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial arm (China.Table reported). After making a critical speech in Shanghai in October 2020, the government has made life difficult for him and his companies. Things have been quiet around Jack Ma. In December, he stepped down from the presidency of the entrepreneurs association of Zhejiang. At the age of 59, he would be young enough to continue to provide impetus or actively manage his companies.
Forced out of its own company by politics
Ma’s withdrawal from the business world indicates that his name is now a burden on business in China. Ant is currently aiming for a second IPO attempt – and it seems to be working better without Ma. At the time of Alibaba’s IPO in New York in 2014, things were very different. Back then, the urbane, original Ma was a guarantee for international success.