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Jack Ma Cutting a Low Profile, Says Alibaba Executive Tsai

Alibaba is doing fine, and Founder Jack Ma is focusing on personal pursuits, the company's executive vice chairman said.
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Alibaba  (BABA) - Get Report Founder Jack Ma, facing pressure from China’s government, is staying out of the limelight, says Joe Tsai, the technology colossus’s executive vice chairman.

Tsai told CNBC that Ma was now spending time on hobbies and philanthropy. 

Ma in October had got himself into trouble by criticizing Chinese financial regulators.

The government then said it was investigating Alibaba for monopolistic practices. In April, Chinese regulators fined Alibaba a record $2.87 billion in the antitrust crackdown.

It also has gone after Ant Financial Group, the financial-services firm of which Ma is controlling shareholder.

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“He’s lying low right now; I talk to him every day,” Tsai said, “He’s actually doing very well. He’s taken up painting as a hobby. It’s actually pretty good.”

Further, “I think today he just wants to sort of say, ‘Hey, I want to focus on what I really want to spend time on,’ which is all the hobbies, all the philanthropy.”

Alibaba is doing fine, Tsai said. “I think you have to separate what’s happening to Jack and what’s happening to our business,” he said.

“Our business is under some kind of restructuring on the financial side of things, and also in antitrust regulation. We had to pay a big fine. But we’ve gotten that behind us, so we’re looking forward.”

Alibaba shares recently traded at $211.64, down 1.1%.

In May, Alibaba posted stronger-than-expected fiscal-fourth-quarter revenue as online shopping trends held firmly in place over the waning months of the coronavirus pandemic in China.