Jack Ma is back, the founder of the Chinese Alibaba Group, appeared in public for the first time since October on Wednesday when he spoke to a group of teachers via video link.
Reducing concerns about his unusual absence from public life and pushing the e-commerce giant’s shares soaring up to 6%, Reuters reported.
Speculation about a whereabouts has been sparked in the wake of this month’s news that he will be replaced by another in the final episode of the reality TV show he is judging and amid a Beijing-based regulatory campaign against his large business empire.
The billionaire, who is much revered in China, has not appeared in public since October 24 when he criticized China’s regulatory measures in a speech at a forum in Shanghai.
This speech put him on a collision course with officials and led to the suspension of an initial public offering of $ 37 billion by Alibaba’s Ant Financial Group.
Alibaba and its charitable foundation confirmed Ma’s participation via the Internet in an annual event for rural teachers today, Wednesday.
And what appeared in the 50-second video, he wore a blue jacket and spoke from a room with gray walls that had a large painting, and next to him was an assortment of roses.
It was not clear where this room was. Alibaba shares listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange rose more than ten percent after the news of his emergence, and the news was first reported by the Tianmu News website, which is supported by the Zhejiang provincial government, where the company is headquartered.
Jack Ma has given up any management position in the group, but he still wields great influence in Alibaba and Ant and promotes them internationally in business and politics.
China has stepped up a regulatory crackdown on the group over anti-competitive internet behavior and targeted Alibaba with an antitrust investigation launched by the Chinese authorities last month.
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