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Jack Ma’s uneasy relationship with Beijing casts shadow over Alibaba’s strong earnings and future

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s high-profile founder appears to be on the wrong side of the Chinese government, sparking a chain of events that has upped regulatory scrutiny on the e-commerce giant and cast uncertainty over its future. Even after Alibaba reported December-quarter earnings above expectations, analysts and experts have warned that Ma’s friction with Beijing could hurt growth.

“Investors are looking at Alibaba with a much more careful eye after having been attracted by the growth story and the founder’s global profile,” Rebecca Fannin, author of “Tech Titans of China,” told CNBC by email. “The current frictions are a new reality for investors who may not have carefully considered how the company’s rise as a powerful tech titan could be a threat to the status quo.”

It began in October when Ma made some negative comments about Chinese financial regulators just days ahead of the initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group in Shanghai and Hong Kong, which would have been the world’s biggest. Ma also founded Ant Group and Alibaba owns about a third of the company. Regulators effectively pulled the plug on the IPO two days before it was set to take place. Ant cited “significant issues such as the changes in financial technology regulatory environment” for the cancellation.

Jack Ma’s uneasy relationship with Beijing casts shadow over Alibaba’s strong earnings and future, CNBC, Feb 3

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