Chinese billionaire Jack Ma's whereabouts have become a topic of controversy as the tycoon hasn't made any public appearance over the past two months.
Speculations about his whereabouts are a major topic of discussion after Ma failed to appear as a judge in the final episode of his own show, Africa's Business Heroes, reports Business Insider.
Last November, China had introduced a series of new regulations that put a halt to what would have been the massive initial public offering of Ma's fintech company, Ant Group and he was advised to not leave the country.
The new rules came weeks after Ma criticised China's financial regulatory system at a conference in Shanghai in October. At the conference, Ma reportedly dismissed the global financial regulations used by China as "an old people's club" and said, "We can't use yesterday's methods to regulate the future."Blair Silverberg, CEO of debt-financing startup Capital told Business Insider's Katie Canales in November that the new regulations were introduced "so the government can assert its supremacy over Jack Ma."
That same November, Ma was replaced as a judge on the African talent show he founded, "Africa's Business Heroes," the Financial Times reported. The talent show did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment, but an Alibaba spokesperson told Business that Ma could no longer be on the judging panel for the show's finale — which was filmed in November but has not yet been released — "due to a scheduling conflict."
"We do not have anything to add beyond that," the spokesperson said in response to questions about Ma's whereabouts.
Last week, the Chinese government ordered Ant Group, which owns China's largest digital payment platform Alipay, to scale back its operations after expressing concerns that its corporate governance was "not sound."
A spokesperson for Ant Group did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment for this story.