Singles' Day fever might not help Alibaba chief's fortune

HONG KONG: Singles’ Day is set to break all kinds of international sales records this year. But don’t expect the frenzy to lift Alibaba chairman Jack Ma’s net worth.

Once the richest person in Asia, Ma controls a US$37.4 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Alibaba tycoon’s wealth has dropped 17.6% this year, mostly dragged down by the company’s slumping shares. India’s Mukesh Ambani took over to top spot in the region in July.

Singles’ Day has ballooned into the world’s biggest shopping phenomenon, generating US$25.3 billion in sales last year. The number is sure to grow this year since the company is including sales from its Southeast Asia arm Lazada.

But Alibaba shares rarely benefit from all the hype. The stock fell on or after every Singles’ Day since 2014.

Ma said in September that he’s stepping down as chairman of the company’s board in 12 months. Ma will leave the board in 2020.