17 January 2020
Is Jack Ma's thumbs-up for Hong Kong or Hangzhou or for China as a whole? Photo: Reuters
Is Jack Ma's thumbs-up for Hong Kong or Hangzhou or for China as a whole? Photo: Reuters

Jack Ma to live in Hong Kong? Not so fast

Jack Ma is on a roadshow for Alibaba’s upcoming initial public offering.

And when he is on a roll, he can be a show-stealer himself, with a style that is sometimes amusing and dramatic but always entertaining.

Back in Hangzhou after famously proclaiming “I  love Hong Kong” during a quick visit to the city to promote his company’s US listing, he enthused about what it’s like to be home.

“I love Hangzhou, I like Hong Kong and I appreciate the culture and attractiveness of many cities in the world,” he said in a statement on Alibaba’s website.

“I said in Hong Kong that I love Hong Kong. I like the friends, weather and food there, and also like that it is part of China.”

Very politically correct, and very much in keeping with the character of a man who describes himself as “just a normal guy”.

But apparently, he does not love Hong Kong enough to want to live there.

Because in the same breath, he denied any plans to move to Hong Kong after reports his residency application could be approved any time soon.

Ma applied for Hong Kong residency in 2008 under the government’s quality migrant admission scheme, several Hong Kong newspapers reported Wednesday.

Also, 21st Century Business Herald quoted him as saying he wants to live out his years in Hong Kong.

“I have never thought of leaving Hangzhou. I was born here and studied here and I started my business in Hangzhou,” he said.

“My hukou (household registration) is in Hangzhou. I feel so great as a Hangzhou man.”

Ma said he does not have any negative impression of people who migrate overseas, adding most overseas Chinese are “helping the country in different ways”.

Mainlanders who move to Hong Kong are “moving to live there”, not simply migrating, he said.

We can’t wait for the next time he’s on stage.

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