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Alibaba's Jack Ma — Asia's richest man — is a communist, Chinese media reveals


Jack Ma is a pretty good capitalist, especially for a communist.

China’s state-backed media revealed Monday that the Alibaba Group founder and chairman is officially a member of the Communist Party. Ma is the richest individual in Asia, with about a $35.8 billion fortune, according to Forbes, and Alibaba














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  is an internet juggernaut worth about $390 billion.

Ma’s political affiliation had never been publicly confirmed, and came as a surprise to some. Ma has not been seen as particularly cozy with Beijing, once quipping about his relationship with the Chinese government: “As always, be in love with them, but don’t marry them.”

Ma has said he will step down as chairman of Alibaba next year, and the company said his Party membership does not affect operations. “Political affiliation of any executive does not influence the company’s business decision-making process,” an Alibaba spokesperson told Reuters.

Ma’s status was revealed in a People’s Daily article about 100 individuals honored by the Communist Party of China for playing key roles in China’s development, to mark the 40th anniversary of China opening up to economic reforms. Other honorees included Tencent Holdings














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  Chief Executive Pony Ma and Baidu Inc.














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 CEO Robin Li, each of whom the newspaper identified as non-partisan.

“Ma, 54, a CPC member, has been a huge driving force for domestic demand,” the report said.

The public reveal may have been intended as a signal that the Communist Party is still relevant in China’s modern economy, one expert told Bloomberg News.

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