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Billionaire Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Makes First Public Appearance in Three Months

Ma resurfaced Wednesday in an online ceremony for rural teachers organized by his charity, easing worry about his whereabouts and boosting Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock up 9%.

Video source: YouTube, CNBC

Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, made his first public appearance after weeks out of his usual spotlight amid growing regulatory scrutiny.

Ma resurfaced Wednesday in an online ceremony for rural teachers organized by his charity, easing worry about his whereabouts and boosting Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock up 9%, according to CNBC.

Prior to that, Ma had not been seen in public since he made an Oct. 24 speech criticizing China’s regulators, saying the system is stifling financial and technological innovation. 

Speculation mounted after the 56-year-old was replaced in the final episode of a reality TV show on which he served as a judge.

For Ma, China’s fourth-richest man, the unusual absence sparked concern, but NPR recently reported he had just “been told to lay low.”

In recent months, Chinese authorities have cracked down on Alibaba and Ant Group, a digital payments company that Ma founded and controls. 

Following his controversial remarks, the state halted Ant Group’s initial public offering, which would have been the biggest global public equity transaction of all time. Then, in December, regulators opened an investigation into Alibaba over monopolistic practices.

In Wednesday’s video, Ma addressed 100 educators who received his foundation's Rural Teachers Award, an annual recognition created to honor outstanding rural teachers and to close China’s urban-rural education gap. Ma was a teacher for six years before he founded Alibaba.

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Source: Equities Newshttps://www.equities.com

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