Is Beijing About to Make an Example Out of Jack Ma?

Is Beijing About to Make an Example Out of Jack Ma?
Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba, during a panel discussion at the China Development Forum in Beijing, March 19, 2016 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR contributor Rachel Cheung and Assistant Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curate the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive China Note by email every week.

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.

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