The Big Picture

Vincent Boland: Jack Ma was too big to destroy but small enough to cut down to size

The crackdown on China’s tech sector may be over, but the industry is counting the cost as it emerges into a changed corporate and political landscape

Jack Ma, chairman, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, rings a bell during the IPO ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, September 2014. Picture: Bloomberg

At the end of 2020, the Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma was on the brink of making financial history for the second time. As the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, he was arranging the biggest initial public offering the financial markets had ever seen, and investors were flocking to buy shares in Ant Group, the company he was taking public.

Ma planned to raise $34 billion from selling a stake in Ant, the digital payments ...