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Jack Ma makes his first public appearance in months

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The billionaire co-founder of Alibaba (BABA) resurfaced Wednesday, in a video revealed by Chinese state media. He was proven talking to lecturers in rural China as a part of a philanthropic occasion.
The video was revealed on-line by Tianmu News, a subsidiary of the Zhejiang authorities’s official newspaper. Zhejiang province is dwelling to Hangzhou, the town the place Alibaba relies.
Ma had not made a public appearance or social media submit since late October, simply over every week earlier than Alibaba’s monetary affiliate Ant Group was scheduled to checklist on the Shanghai and Hong Kong inventory exchanges. The IPO was blocked at the last minute by Chinese regulators, and his corporations have since been focused as a part of an escalating crackdown on tech by Beijing.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares surged greater than 9% on Wednesday after the video was revealed. The good points put the inventory on tempo for its finest day since final July, serving to to erase a few of the losses which have piled up since Ant Group’s IPO was pulled. The inventory additionally powered a broader rally in Chinese tech shares that commerce in Hong Kong.

Reached for remark Wednesday, Alibaba referred CNN Business to a press release launched by the Jack Ma Foundation, his philanthropic group. The basis stated that Ma participated in an on-line award ceremony Wednesday for lecturers known as the Rural Teacher Initiative, which it created.

Ma, a former English trainer, has made schooling a precedence for his basis, which he has devoted extra time to since retiring from Alibaba in 2019.

In the video, which Tianmu News stated was filmed Wednesday morning, Ma is proven telling lecturers that the standard in-person celebration for the educating initiative had been canceled due to Covid-19.

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“We’ll meet again after the epidemic is over,” Ma stated in the video. It additionally confirmed footage of Ma that it stated was taken throughout a go to to an elementary college in Hangzhou earlier this month.

Ma’s whereabouts have been the topic of intense hypothesis in latest weeks. As Ant Group was making ready for the world’s largest preliminary public providing final fall, Ma accused authorities of stifling innovation and blasted the nation’s banks for having a “pawn shop” mentality. Within days, regulators summoned Ma and Ant executives to a meeting after which shelved the IPO altogether.

The occasion in Shanghai the place Ma made these remarks was the final time he was seen in public earlier than Wednesday — a notable absence for a person who sometimes has no subject with the highlight.

Alibaba is China’s most well-known tech firm but it surely faces a bunch of challenges that danger essentially altering it ceaselessly. Chinese authorities are investigating the corporate on antitrust grounds, whereas additionally pushing its sprawling monetary affiliate, Ant Group, to overhaul its business.

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