Why China Turned Against Jack Ma

The shift in attitude also speaks to a growing wealth gap and diminished opportunities for the young.

A growing number of people in China seem to feel the opportunities that people like Mr. Ma enjoyed are disappearing, even amid China’s post-coronavirus surge. While China has more billionaires than the United States and India combined, about 600 million of its people earn $150 a month or less. While consumption in the first 11 months of this year fell about 5 percent nationally, China’s luxury consumption is expected to grow nearly 50 percent this year compared with 2019.

Young college graduates, even those with degrees from the United States, face limited white-collar job prospects and low wages. Housing in the best cities has become too expensive for first-time buyers. Young people who have borrowed from a new generation of online lenders, like Mr. Ma’s Ant Group, have debts they increasingly resent.

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