Alibaba pledges $15bn to cut poverty in China, despite Jack Ma clampdown
Chinese retail giant Alibaba has pledged $15.5bn to help China achieve “common prosperity”, despite its founder Jack Ma being targeted by Beijing’s regulatory crackdown.
The donation comes amid a bout of new hawkish regulations for Chinese tech giants, with Ma singled out for particular scrutiny following his criticism of the country’s regulators and state banks.
Alibaba, a group primarily focussed on ecommerce and own’s Ma’s Ant Group, has donated the hefty sum with the priority to cut down poverty levels.
The $15.5bn, or 100bn yuan, is set to go towards the innovation of technology, economic development, creating “high-quality employment” supporting vulnerable communities and establishing a special development fund.
“Alibaba is a beneficiary of the strong social and economic progress in China over the past 22 years,” Alibaba chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said in a statement Friday.
“We firmly believe that if society is doing well and the economy is doing well, then Alibaba will do well.”
Chinese officials asked Alibaba to sell off its media sector assets in March, which included stakes in news outlets including Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, as well as Twitter-equivalent platform Weibo.
The Chinese billionaire stepped down as executive chair of the ecommerce giant last year amid a flurry of regulatory scrutiny.
After Ma slammed Chinese lenders for operating with a “pawnshop mentality” in October 2020, Ant Group’s $37bn stock market float was also frozen a month later, after raising regulatory eyebrows.
The company has since been forced to undergo a restricting overhaul, while Ma has rarely been seen in public since.