N509FZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alibaba, the biggest company in China and the only thing close to a monopoly in the CCP led nation, has been facing increasing scrutiny ever since founder Jack Ma criticized the country’s financial regulators last year. China, which is not one to take constructive criticism sportingly, has been on the company’s tail ever since, and today, according to a report by WSJ, it has asked Alibaba to get rid of its media assets.

Jack Ma was invited to a public event last year, where things took a turn for the worse quickly. Instead of singing praises about the Chinese government (as one would have expected him to do), he started laying critiques on the country’s financial structure, and how difficult it is to do business in China.

This did not go down well with the authorities, which not only halted the IPO of Alibaba led ANT Group, but also initiated an anti trust investigation into the company.

However, this was not the worst of it, as soon after the speech, founder Jack Ma disappeared for months, leading to speculations about him going ‘missing.’ Later, he appeared in a video , which was circulated on Chinese social media in January this year.

Thus, people began to think that the worst was over. Now, if the report from WSJ is to be believed, it looks like it has just started.

According to said report, Chinese officials have grave concern about the amount of power Alibaba holds in swaying public opinion, stating that the company should go back to its roots in the financial industry and provide more transparency into how it facilitates transactions.

Alibaba had acquired South Chine Morning Post a while ago, which was seen as the company’s first entry into the media market. Over the years, it has expanded its footprint to other regions of the industry, by acquiring stakes in Twitter-like Weibo platform and several popular Chinese digital and print news outlets. It also has holdings in technology news site 36Kr, state-owned Shanghai Media Group and many other platforms in mainland China.

According to the report, Chinese regulators are “appalled at how expansive Alibaba’s media interests have become and asked the company to come up with a plan to substantially curtail its media holdings” the people said.

China and Alibaba have had a friendly relationship in the past, which aided the company in becoming the empire we see today. It remains to be seen if the two entities will be able to patch things up.