The speech that sunk the world's biggest IPO

Bloomberg Opinion Today

Jack Ma's Blunt Words Just Cost Him $35 Billion — Shuli Ren

Jack Ma is a very busy man. 

China's richest man has been busy trying to launch the world's biggest IPO. He has been busy preparing for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s grandest four-day Double Eleven shopping extravaganza. And yet two weeks ago, Ma somehow found the time to opine on China's banking system at a high-profile financial forum in Shanghai, once again throwing himself into the eye of the storm. 

In that speech, apart from labeling the global banking Basel Accords as an "old people's club," Ma said "systemic risk" is not the issue in China. Rather, China's biggest risk is that it "lacks a financial ecosystem." Chinese banks are like "pawn shops," where collateral and guarantees are the hard currencies. As a result, some decided to go so big they are not allowed to fail. "As the Chinese like to say, if you borrow 100,000 yuan from the bank, you are a bit scared; if you borrow a million yuan, both you and the bank are a little nervous; but if you take a 1 billion yuan loan, you are not scared at all, the bank is," Ma said. 

The consequences came this week.

Read the whole thing.

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