Ma, who retired as Alibaba’s chairman in 2019, has largely faded from public view since a controversial speech in Shanghai last October that was later linked to the Chinese government
of , the fintech offshoot of Alibaba also founded by Ma. Since then, he has largely focused on hobbies and philanthropy, his close business partner said in an .
For 2020, Ma and Hangzhou-based Alibaba had combined cash donations of 3.2 billion yuan (US$493.4 million). Pony Ma Huateng and his Shenzhen-based company
, China’s most valuable technology giant, ranked third with 2.6 billion yuan in charitable giving. Zhang Yiming, together with his Beijing-based company , operator of , came in fifth, donating 1.2 billion yuan for the year, according to the Forbes list.
Alibaba is the owner of the South China Morning Post.
Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai: Jack Ma is fine and ‘lying low right now’
Donations from Chinese tech billionaires have become more frequent in the midst of increased pressure from Beijing on Big Tech firms to put social development ahead of profit and serve the national agenda.