- Financial traders around the world are trying to get the scoop on Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma’s whereabouts, after media reports the tycoon hasn’t been seen in public for two months.
- Traders are using their access to the powerful Bloomberg Terminal, which shows real-time financial data, to check out his profile, which shows his online status.
- One trader told Business Insider that Ma’s profile has been offline for “three days at least.” His profile is now among the most-viewed on the terminal, indicating intense global trader interest in the story.
- Ma has been conspicuously absence since the Chinese government commenced a regulatory crackdown on his businesses Alibaba and Ant Group.
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The apparent disappearance of Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire and Alibaba cofounder, has provoked curiosity not just on social media but among global traders who have been searching for his profile on Bloomberg’s terminal service for clues on his whereabouts.
Ma, whose net worth stands at $51.5 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has not been seen in public for two months. His absence comes amid a Chinese regulatory clampdown on his businesses.
Bloomberg Terminal, often touted as one of the most powerful machines in the world, is a paid service that gives its users access to a range of financial data from daily breaking news to charts, lists, and company information. It is widely used by banks, financial firms, and media outlets.
Bloomberg’s software is known for its powerful features — but one more light-hearted function is the “MVP” or most-viewed profile. Each trader on the terminal has a personal profile which also shows when they are online, via a green dot. Traders can also chat with each other via their profiles.
The most-viewed function lets traders see who their peers are reading and talking about on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. Traders say this is a must for those who want to be plugged into gossip.
Amid rumors of his disappearance, the MVP of the week is currently Jack Ma, with traders around the world checking out the Alibaba billionaire’s status on the Bloomberg chat function (he remains firmly offline.)
“I have checked out his profile in the past out of curiosity and have seen him online. So it’s pretty bizarre that he hasn’t been online lately,” one trader told Business Insider on the condition of anonymity.
Jack Ma’s profile on the terminal was the second-most viewed on Wednesday, after that of Credit Suisse’ Global head of equity sales, Lucy Baldwin, Business Insider understands. Ma’s profile saw more than 700 hits as of Wednesday morning.
His profile is the third-most viewed profile this month, with his profile seeing over 2,100 hits since the start of January. And it’s the most viewed profile this week with more than 1,800 hits.
The source added that there is growing interest among the trader community on his whereabouts. “Memes, conspiracy theories as well as his offline Bloomberg profile status are being actively shared in WhatsApp groups. Everyone is interested to know where he is.”
Another trader, based in Australia, told Business Insider on the condition of anonymity that they have also checked out Ma’s profile a number of times on the Bloomberg terminal in the hope of seeing him online there. “He has been offline for the past 3 days at least. I have checked out his profile a number of times.”
Ma’s offline status on Bloomberg doesn’t give any clues on his whereabouts — “he may be on holiday,” as one trader said – but the mystery of his whereabouts has captivated the public.
On Sunday, Yahoo Finance reported that Ma hadn’t been seen publicly in more than two months. He also missed an appearance in November on a TV talent show that he had founded, The Financial Times reported.
Chinese regulators have targeted Ma’s businesses after the entrepreneur publicly criticized the country’s financial regulatory system in October 2020. Authorities subsequently yanked a $37 billion IPO for Ma’s fintech firm Ant Group in November, and Alibaba also faces an antitrust probe.
CNBC’s David Faber on Tuesday said Ma hasn’t gone missing but is lying low.
“He is being less visible, purposefully,” Faber said after noting that he has closely covered Ma and his businesses. “And you can expect for that to be the case for some time,” Faber said, citing sources.