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Jack Ma makes public appearance for the first time after three-month absence

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 20, 2021 9:50 pm

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has finally resurfaced after an almost three-month absence from the public eye.

The Alibaba and Ant Group co-founder made an appearance on Tuesday, Jan. 19 in a video published by Tianmu News, a news portal of China’s Zhejiang province, where Ma’s Alibaba is based.

Ma was shown in the video making a speech addressed to teachers in rural China as part of an annual event that the businessman hosts. 

The video of Ma’s speech was also published by South China Morning Post, which Alibaba owns.

“My colleagues and I have been studying and thinking, and we have become more determined to devote ourselves to education and public welfare,” Ma said.

After Ma’s appearance in the video, Alibaba’s Hong Kong traded shares climbed by more than nine percent, according to the Financial Times.

Ma’s whereabouts have been the subject of heavy speculation online the past few weeks. Before this, his last public appearance was in a high-profile conference in Shanghai in October,

There, he reportedly criticized China’s regulatory system, calling them an "old people's club" ill-suited to oversee Chinese tech innovation.

Following the conference, Ma missed the final episode of Africa’s Business Heroes, a TV show he founded and appeared in as a judge.

Chinese regulators then opened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba, which led to the decline of the company’s value by more than a quarter since Oct. 24, 2020.

In recent years, a number of business leaders in hot water with Chinese authorities have gone missing.

Banner image and thumbnail from Getty Image