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Too visible, too wealthy: Tensions between the Chinese Communist Party and Alibaba's Jack Ma had been building even before the doomed Ant Group listing.   © Getty Images
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Jack Ma vs. the Party: Inside the collapse of the world's biggest IPO

The charismatic founder has long clashed with China's leadership. It was only going to end one way

HENNY SENDER, Nikkei Asia contributing writer | China

HONG KONG -- Three years ago, on Nov. 11 -- the date of Singles' Day, the Alibaba-led shopping extravaganza -- Jack Ma released a short film. A slick, 22-minute production titled "Gong Shou Dao," it follows the diminutive Ma as he encounters a series of ever-more towering opponents, from screen idol Jet Li to a Mongolian sumo wrestler.

In the concluding frames, Ma, co-founder of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba and its financial unit Ant, strikes tai chi poses as phrases flash across the screen: "Following no doctrine, only karma"; "Brave, but not brash."

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