The Profile

Jack Ma profile: how China is making the Alibaba and Ant Group founder pay for his outspoken stance

The billionaire has been out of the limelight recently having upset Chinese authorities and has now ceded control of online payments firm Alipay, but at only 58, few expect him to be thinking of retirement just yet

Jack Ma: the Chinese entrepreneur likes to entertain as well as making money. Illustration: Peter Hanan

For a man often described by the media as flamboyant and colourful, the past couple of years out of the limelight can't have been easy for Jack Ma.

The entrepreneur who founded Alibaba, the hugely successful ecommerce company, and also achieved remarkable success with its fintech offshoot Ant, went to ground after upsetting authorities in China over two years ago. Sightings of him since then have been infrequent, largely restricted to charity events and holidays ...