Ma’s speech triggers anger at top brass, Hong Kong media reveal that he was advised to lay low before speaking

China’s top government officials were angered by Jack Ma’s criticism of regulators in an Oct. 24 speech and called off the IPO of Ma’s Ant Group, which is owned by Jack Ma, in a general outburst of years of tension with the Chinese government, according to a Wall Street Journal report today.

Xi Jinping personally called off the Ant IPO after Jack Ma’s speech sparked outrage at the top, according to Chinese officials briefed on the matter, who said President Xi Jinping personally made the decision to halt Ant Group’s initial public offering (IPO) after Ant Group controlling shareholder Jack Ma annoyed government leaders in what would have been a global “public offering,” the WSJ reported today. Largest IPO.

The halt of Ant Group’s IPO is also a general outburst of years of tension between Jack Ma and the Chinese government. The Chinese government is uneasy about Ma’s influence and the rapid growth of the digital payments giant that he controls.

The report said Xi has become increasingly intolerant of large private companies with growing capital and influence that are seen as a threat to his dominance, and that some factions within the increasingly assertive Communist Party also see them as a threat to the stability they seek, the report said.

On October 24, on the eve of Ant Group’s imminent IPO, a sharp speech by Jack Ma at the second Bund Financial Summit in Shanghai triggered a shock in China’s financial circles, according to a report in Hong Kong01. Following Ma’s speech, Jack Ma, the de facto controller of Ant Group, was earlier interviewed and the group’s IPO has since been halted. The report quoted Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao as saying that Ma had been advised to soften his tone before speaking at the end of October, but he still insisted on speaking his mind freely, which angered the Communist Party’s top brass and halted the listing of the ant group.

Two sources close to Ma disclosed these details, with one saying: “Ma is Ma Yun, he just wants to speak his mind.” The two sources said a number of senior financial regulators were outraged by Ma’s speech, and even felt “punched in the face”. The speech also prompted financial regulators to call for a full review of the ant business, with written instructions including from Liu He, a trusted economic adviser to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Reportedly, Ma’s speech of about 20 minutes, threw out a lot of with some aphorism-type assertions, representative statements include: “the world is more about risk control, not about development, rarely think about the opportunities for young people, developing countries where the opportunities”, “Basel is like an old people’s club”, “(China’s problem) is not a financial systemic risk, but the lack of financial ecosystem risk”, “today’s banks continue or pawn shop idea”, “good innovation is not afraid of regulation, but afraid of yesterday’s way to regulate”.

According to the report, on November 2, Jack Ma was interviewed by China’s four major financial regulators. The following day, the Shanghai Stock Exchange issued a decision on suspending the listing of Ant Group’s CRE Board. Later, Ant Group also released a statement, promising to “embrace regulation”.