(Yicai Global) Jan. 8 -- Chinese e-commerce billionaire Jack Ma said he and some friends have opened a bar in Hangzhou, the leafy South China lakeside city where his Alibaba Group Holding is based.
"I asked some friends to open a bar with me," Ma said in a video circulating on social media of HHB Music Bar's celebrity-studded opening party on Jan. 6. Ma, who is set to step down as Alibaba's executive chairman in September, is even to be seen singing on stage.
But corporate registration documents show that the Alibaba executives who are shareholders in the bar's owner, Hangzhou Mars Entertainment Management, do not include Ma, news outlet Red Star News reported.
Bar staff confirmed that Ma is not an owner, the report added. As for Ma's public statement that he was in partnership with friends, the staff said, "That's a personal opinion, and we're not in a position to comment."
Ma founded Alibaba almost two decades ago. When he announced last year that he planned to hand over the reins to Chief Executive Daniel Zhang, he also laid out some tentative future plans in philanthropy and education. He founded the Jack Ma Foundation, a charitable organization, in 2014, and before setting up Alibaba, the 54-year-old worked as an English teacher.
The business scope of bar-owner Mars Entertainment, which was set up in September with a registered capital of CNY1 million (USD145,977), includes entertainment management, cultural and artistic activity planning, and operating venues for singing and dancing.
Its six shareholders include Polo Shao, Alibaba's chief risk officer, Jeff Zhang, its chief technology officer, and Wang Shuai, president of China Corporate Communications and Marketing. Shao contributed CNY600,000 (USD87,000) for a 60 percent stake. The others all subscribed CNY80,000 for 8 percent each.
Maybe Ma is just the bar's mascot.
Editor: Ben Armour