Jack Ma has a message for his naysayers, and it’s coming through loud and clear — “Lawsuits don’t scare me.”
The Chinese billionaire behind internet giant Alibaba is no stranger to legal action, and he now says that he in fact welcomes these proceedings. In an interview on Saturday, he told Reuters that such investigations into his business and its practices are a chance for Alibaba Group to be better understood.
“If you want to sue us, sue us,” Ma said.“It’s an opportunity for us to let them understand what we’re doing.” The comments were made in response to a recent probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) meant to examine whether or not Alibaba’s accounting practices violate federal law. The e-commerce company has long faced questions about its meteoric growth and relationships with affiliated companies.
Ma told Reuters that he has cooperated with all SEC requests, but does not know when the results of the investigation will be made available.
In the meantime, Ma has delved deep into the world of nonprofits in China, and spent the weekend speaking at a two-day philanthropy conference put on by Alibaba Foundation, the organization established by his company. Back in 2014, Ma and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai pledged around $3 billion worth of share options to the Foundation, in what was then (and remains) the biggest such donation in Chinese history.
While China has its fair share of billionaires, few of them are as open as Ma when it comes to their corporate giving, in keeping with efforts to fly under the radar. But clearly, that’s not a modus operandi that Ma is at all familiar with.
Since 2010, Dealgate and Internet Retailer estimates that Alibaba has spent between $30 and $40 billion on over 100 investments and acquisitions. So if Jack Ma is trying to do anything quietly, it’s safe to say that it’s not working.