The shares of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba suffered a significant drop in the opening minutes of the session in Hong Kong in the face of confusion over the alleged arrest of its founder, Jack Maalready denied by the official press of the Asian country.
By 9:45 a.m. local time (01:45 GMT), just 15 minutes after the start of trading, Alibaba shares were down 9.4 percent.
Three quarters of an hour earlier, state television CCTV had announced “coercive actions” in the eastern city of hangzhou – hometown of Jack Ma and headquarters of Alibaba– against a man called Ma, accused of “collude with hostile anti-Chinese forces abroad” and to participate in “activities that endanger national security such as incitement to secession or subversion of state power.”
The CCTV announcement did not specify the first name of the person under investigation, which apparently sparked panic among investors for fear that it was Jack Mawhose relationship with the national authorities soured at the end of 2020 with the frustrated IPO of its financial company (‘fintech’) AntGroup.
After that, the official press was quick to deny the rumours: the Global Times newspaper reported that the name of the detainee is made up of three Chinese characters, while that of Jack Ma (Ma Yun) only has two.
According to that newspaper, the investigated works as director of research and development of hardware in a computer company.
Following the denial, Alibaba’s Hong Kong share price rebounded, limiting its losses to 1.57 percent at the mid-session break.
The spirits of investors in Chinese technology companies are at a sensitive moment: the information that pointed to the possible end of the harsh regulation campaign of the sector by the Chinese Government made last Friday, Alibaba shares appreciate at no less than 15.69 percent.
Despite this, the group’s shares in Hong Kong continue to trade at practically half the price at which they debuted on that floor at the end of 2019.
Alibaba has been marking this downward trend since the aforementioned clashes between Ma and the authorities on account of Ant Group’s IPO at the end of 2020.
The company has been one of the most affected by the regulatory campaignwithin the framework of which Beijing imposed, in April 2021, the largest antitrust fine in Chinese history, equivalent to about 2.8 billion dollars.