Jack Ma Leaves China for the First Time Since Regulatory Woes Began

Wednesday - 20/10/2021 10:45
Jack Ma is expected to return to China next month following his first trip abroad since last November’s suspension of the Ant Group IPO. PHOTO: CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS
Jack Ma is expected to return to China next month following his first trip abroad since last November’s suspension of the Ant Group IPO. PHOTO: CHARLES PLATIAU/REUTERS
The Alibaba co-founder’s trip to Europe suggests he hasn’t been banned from leaving the country by Chinese authorities

SINGAPORE— Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA +1.17% ’s billionaire co-founder, is traveling outside of China for the first time since his business empire came under regulatory scrutiny about a year ago, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Ma, who recently briefly spent time in Hong Kong, is now in Europe to see friends, taste wines and conduct business meetings, the people said. He arrived in Spain this week and boarded a yacht from the Balearic Islands and is expected to travel to other European countries, they said. While Mr. Ma’s schedule is fluid, he is expected to return to China next month, according to one of the people.

This is Mr. Ma’s first time overseas after the government suspended last November the blockbuster public offering of Ant Group, the financial-technology giant Mr. Ma controls, the people said.

The trip suggests that Mr. Ma is safe and that he isn’t banned by Chinese authorities from leaving the country. Authorities often block individuals from leaving China, at times to seek their help on investigations, in a practice called “exit ban” that has affected government officials and company executives.

The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The trip was reported earlier by the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.

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 Keywords: China

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