Alibaba has been the subject of probes by various United States agencies due to its massive growth rate and its relationship with affiliated companies.
Among the controversies surrounding the company was an instance in December 2015, when the United States issued Alibaba a warning regarding the proliferation of counterfeit products on the online sales websites of the e-commerce giant. The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched a probe on Alibaba earlier this year to investigate the company's accounting practices to check if there are any violations of federal laws.
Alibaba executive chairman and founder Jack Ma, however, is unfazed by all the allegations, as he said in an interview that lawsuits and such investigations present an opportunity for the company to be better understood.
"If you want to sue us, sue us," said Ma, adding that he had complied with the requests of the SEC but had no idea on when the agency would be responding with findings on their investigations.
Apart from his wide-reaching business ventures, Ma has also dived into nonprofit causes in China, spending the weekend as a speaker at a philanthropy conference by the Alibaba Foundation. In 2014, Ma and fellow Alibaba founder Joe Tsai donated to the foundation about $3 billion in share options, which stands as the largest donation in the history of China.
Ma, with a net worth of $21.8 billion according to a 2015 Forbes report, said that Chinese culture issues a warning that there will be nothing good to come from having a high profile. Ma added that he received a message from his father to maintain a low profile.
Ma's efforts to maintain such a low profile, however, are suspect, as the Alibaba executive chairman has been one of the few billionaires in China who have been very open with their corporate spending.
According to estimates by Dealgate and Internet Retailer, Alibaba has spent between $30 billion to $40 billion since 2010 on more than 100 acquisitions and investments. Examples of such actions by Alibaba include leading an $800 million funding round for augmented reality startup Magic Leap, investing a total amount of $1 billion in Southeast Asia-focused e-commerce website Lazada, and inking a deal for $1.25 billion worth of funding for Chinese food delivery startup Ele.me.
These movements certainly do not fall under keeping a low profile for Ma and his company, and is probably why United States agencies are launching investigations into the Chinese e-commerce giant.