It seems that the reclusive billionaire Jack Ma has resurfaced in Thailand just hours before it was announced that he would be giving up control of his company, Ant Group. Ma, the founder of Alibaba, was spotted at the Jay Fai restaurant in Bangkok, where he was photographed with Michelin-starred chef Supinya "Jay Fai" Junsuta. Local media also reported that Ma was seen at a boxing match in Bangkok's Rajadamnern Stadium, posing with Thai boxing champion Sombat "Buakaw" Banchamek.
But Ma wasn't just in Thailand for the delicious food and high-stakes fights - he was also there for a business meeting with Soopakij Chearavanont, the chair of the Charoen Pokphand Group. Coincidentally (or not),this all happened just hours before it was announced that Ma would be giving up control of Ant Group. In a statement, the company said it was streamlining voting rights to prevent any single shareholder from having too much power. According to the statement, this move is meant to "further enhance the stability of our corporate structure and sustainability of our long-term development."
Ma may not hold an executive role at Ant Group or sit on its board, but he still has influence through a separate entity that he controls. These latest changes are just the latest in a series of overhauls demanded by the Chinese government.
Ma has kept a very low profile since his clash with authorities, with some speculating that he may have been living in Tokyo for the past six months, socializing only in private members' clubs. It remains to be seen whether Ma's reappearance in Thailand signals a return to a more public role, or whether it was simply a brief trip to enjoy the culinary delights of Jay Fai's restaurant and the excitement of a Muay Thai fight.