Alibaba, Chinese epic, by Jordan Pouille (Le Monde diplomatique, March 2021)

Zhou Zixi. — “ Report on the History of the Future (Future History Report), 2010

© Zhou Zixi, courtesy ShanghART, Shanghai

NOTwe all know that when you borrow 100,000 yuan [environ 13 000 euros], you are terrified of the bank. When you borrow 10 million yuan, you and the bank are terrified. When you borrow 1 billion yuan, you terrify the bank. » On October 24, 2020, during the Shanghai Bund Summit, a symposium bringing together world leaders in the banking sector, Mr. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, launched this thinly veiled threat. Retired since September 2019 from the presidency of the group, Mr. Ma – whose real name is Ma Yun – then confidently began a speech on the obsolescence of the current banking offer and the advent of big data. He sketched in stride a new financial system in which innovation and regulations [seraient] in harmony » and pleaded for creation of a digital currency “. Without forgetting, of course, to celebrate its own creation: Ant Group, the financial arm of the group, which massively grants loans to individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with no banking history. Over the past sixteen years, the development of Ant Group has revolved around respect for the environment, sustainability and financial inclusion. If green, sustainable and inclusive finance turns out to be a mistake, then we will make that mistake for eternity. »

This lyrical flight was hardly to the taste of Mr. Wang Qishan, the Chinese vice-president, nor of Mr. Yi Gang, the governor of the central bank, who had both spoken shortly before him. A few days later, on November 2, Mr. Ma was called for an interview by the financial regulator. The next day, Ant Group’s IPO in Shanghai and Hong Kong, announced as the biggest ever, was abruptly cancelled. The following month, an investigation was opened into the group’s commercial practices, deemed to be anti-competitive. The most famous billionaire (…)

Full Item Size: 4,140 words.

This article is for subscribers only

High schools, libraries, administrations, companies,
access the online database of all articles from the Diplomatic world from 1954 to the present day. Find this specific offer.

Leave a Comment