Jack Ma’s stock may have taken a beating over the past year, but it appears he has a promising second income to keep him afloat.
A painting by the Alibaba Chairman and Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi went for $42.2 million HK ($5.4 million USD) on Sunday at Sotherby’s auction in Hong Kong. According to Sotherby’s, the sale was 21 times more than the price predicted by the auction house.
The $5.4 million USD, paid by Chinese entrepreneur Qian Fenglei, will be donated to the Paradise International Foundation, an environmental non-profit patronized by multiple Chinese philanthropists. Ma toured Sotherby’s before the sale, and said it was “an honor” to have his work sold for charity, according to Bloomberg.
The round oil painting depicts a pastel blue and green planet earth and is titled ‘Paradise’. The image is slightly distorted by horizontal lines, as if viewed through a fuzzy television screen, though it’s not clear whether it was intentional. Ma and Zeng reportedly used palette knives to create the texture of the painting. The picture shows East Asia, including China, Korea, Japan and Russia. The bottom half is obscured what looks like blue waves.
Zeng Fanzhi is a highly acclaimed artist in China, he previously set the record for living Asian artists at Sotherby’s with his painting “The Last Supper”, which sold for $23.3 million USD in 2013. Ma, who has said he has no plans to pursue art, previously sold an ink painting on his Taobao platform.
The painting’s unexpected popularity isn’t the only good news Jack Ma has had in the past few days, Alibaba’s share price has rallied slightly since the start of the month. The company’s stock has taken a hit as volatile markets wrought havoc in China this year.