The return of Jack Ma, one of the most prominent entrepreneurs and founder of multinational technology giant Alibaba, to the Chinese mainland is observed as a signal of a fundamental change in the country's policies in the private sector, Voice of America (VOA) said in a report.
Jack Ma returned to China this week following his travel overseas for more than a year, in what is being interpreted as evidence of an improved climate for the nation's private sector, read a report on the website of the state-owned news network and international radio broadcaster of the United States of America.
Upon his return, Jack Ma paid a visit Monday to the Yungu School, a private academy in Hangzhou funded by Ma's Alibaba Group, which includes one of the world's biggest online commerce companies. There, he talked about "the future of education with the campus directors" and "the challenges and opportunities" that "new technological change brings to education," according to the school's WeChat account.
Earlier this month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) "has always treated private entrepreneurs as its own people," marking an about-face from suppressing the private economy during the pandemic with tactics that included stopping what was expected to be the USD 37 billion IPO of Ma's Ant Group, VOA reported.
China's economy trended down after COVID-19 was first identified in humans in Wuhan in December 2019. Xi led the crackdown on some of China's most successful entrepreneurs as he pushed for "common prosperity", long a CCP catchphrase, as an alternative to increasing inequality.
Some see Ma's return as a signal of a fundamental change in China's policies in the private sector, VOA report read.
An article from Ejam Finance, a Guangzhou-based new media company focusing on financial information, said, "Today, Jack Ma returned to China again! I believe this is also a day when the confidence of private entrepreneurs across the country soars."
Alibaba's US-listed shares rose by more than 10 per cent after news broke of Ma's return. Alibaba Group is planning to split into six units, it said Tuesday, as Beijing said it would ease a regulatory crackdown on private enterprises, VOA reported.
Zongyuan Zoe Liu, fellow for international political economy at the Council on Foreign Relations, told VOA Mandarin, "Ma Yun (Jack Ma) has been the token of Chinese entrepreneurship. His rise and fall (and seemingly rise again) have been closely associated with the Chinese government and government-led investment."
Liu said the most important aspect of Ma's return is whether it can boost investors' confidence in China's economy, VOA reported.
"As long as confidence in the Chinese economy and confidence in the Chinese government's support for the private sector can be quickly restored, it helps to quell rumors and reduce uncertainties. After all, economic growth is a confidence game," she said.
She emphasized that confidence in the Chinese economy and expressing support for Ma's return are two different things, VOA reported.
Hu Ping, a one-time district councillor in Beijing who later edited China Spring and Beijing Spring, both US-based journals focused on Chinese politics, told VOA Mandarin that "the loss of Chinese private entrepreneurs' confidence in the government is caused by Xi's suppression policy."
As long as Xi is in office and his policies remain unchanged, people's trust can't be regained, Hu said.
Yao Wang, a Chinese investment expert who has been engaged in asset management in New York for nearly 30 years, believes that instead of using Ma's return to boost confidence in private enterprise, Beijing should take some practical actions.
"The best way to show the stability, continuity, predictability, and transparency of policies is to fix it in the form of law," he said. (ANI)