Alibaba Group Founder Jack Ma, who reportedly went missing last year in October, has appeared on Wednesday where he was seen addressing 100 rural teachers in China via a live video. His comeback triggered a sharp jump in the Hong Kong listed series of the e-commerce giant.
Jack Ma had not appeared in public since October after he criticized the Chinese government over its regulatory system in a speech at Shanghai forum that set him on a collision course with officials, leading to suspension of a $37-billion IPO of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Group.
Social media also erupted and speculations over his whereabouts swirled after news reports that he missed the final episode of a TV show featuring him as a judge.
Moreover, Alibaba confirmed Jack Ma attended the online event, which led to an immediate spike in their Hong Kong-listed shares.
In the 50-second video, Mr Ma, dressed in a navy pullover, spoke directly to the camera from a room. It was however not clear where he was speaking from. He addressed teachers receiving the Jack Ma Rural Teachers Award, who in previous years would have attended a ceremony organised by the Jack Ma Foundation in the Chinese seaside city of Sanya.
It may mentioned that Alibaba is also a target of an antitrust investigation launched last month by Chinese authorities, who have in recent months accelerated a crackdown on anticompetitive behaviour in China’s booming internet space.