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Alibaba's Jack Ma is a Communist Party, reveals China's government paper

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Jack Ma, chief of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and China's most famous capitalist, is a…

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Jack Ma, chief of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and China’s most famous capitalist, is a communist party, said the official party day on Monday and debunked a public assumption of the billionaire politically unattached.

PHIL PHOTO: Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma is participating in the WTO Trade Trade Trade Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, October 2, 201

8. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / Filfoto

People’s Daily revealed Ma & # 39th party membership in a list of 100 people said that had helped drive the country’s “reform and open up” process. Ma is China’s richest man with a fortune of $ 35.8 billion, according to Forbes.

It was unclear why the paper chose to mention Mas’s affiliation now but it is under pressure from Beijing to make the country’s private companies match the parties, especially in the technology sector that grew rapidly and driven by the success of private companies.

Ma, who announced in September that he would go down as Alibaba chairman next year, is China’s highest profile leader. He has acted as adviser to political leaders in Asia and Europe and promoted great aspirations in the United States.

He has driven Alibaba to become a giant of $ 390 billion, dominating China’s online retail trade, ranging from logistics to social media and has created a separate fintech empire around popular Alipay payment platform.

Ma’s political affiliation came as a surprise to many.

Results from the domestic search engine Baidu Inc, when asked “Jack Ma is a Communist Party,” also said most that he was not.

Alibaba declined to comment on Ma’s party membership, but the political ties had no impact on the company’s business.

“Political affiliation by any executive does not affect the company’s decision-making,” said a spokesperson in e-mail to Reuters on Tuesday.

“We follow all laws and ordinances in countries where we work when we fulfill our mission to make it easier for people to do business somewhere in the digital era.”

People’s diary also contains Baidu head Robin Li and Tencent Holding Ltd’s chief Pony Ma, but did not mention any of them as party members. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent together form the BAT trio of China’s high-tech companies.

The paper did not say when Ma had become a party member.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan and John Ruwitch; Editing Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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