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Speaking at a financial conference in Shanghai last fall, Jack Ma, China’s most famous entrepreneur, started his speech with a disclaimer: “If you think my advice doesn’t make sense, just forget about it.” But Beijing never forgets and certainly does not forgive.
The charismatic billionaire proceeded to dish out advice at the Bund Summit, as he loves to do in public speeches. He lambasted Chinese banks for their “pawnshop mentality” and regulators around the world for stifling innovation. “Europe is tackling its aging system, but China’s problem is the opposite because China’s financial sector basically doesn’t have a system,” he said, triggering a round of laughter from the audience.