According to Bloomberg, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma recently resurfaced after more than two months out of public view, thus bringing an end to the intense speculation about the whereabouts and plight of the billionaire, who is currently grappling with escalating scrutiny over his internet empire.
Jack Ma had kept out of public view since early November, when Chinese regulators torpedoed Ant’s $35 billion IPO, tightened fintech regulations, and then ordered an overhaul of Ant and launched a separate antitrust probe into Alibaba — all in a span of days. According to the business website, China’s most recognizable entrepreneur addressed teachers via livestream on Wednesday during an annual event he hosts to recognize rural educators. In a video of the event circulated online, Ma talked about how he will spend more
time on philanthropy.
The co-founder of Alibaba and Ant didn’t mention his recent run-ins with Beijing during his address. Ant confirmed the authenticity of the video in an email. “Recently, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking. We made a firmer resolution to devote ourselves to education philanthropy,” Ma said in the video, according to the business website. “Working hard for rural revitalization and common prosperity is the
responsibility for our generation of businessmen.”
Since Ma’s reappearance, Alibaba’s shares have gained more than four percent in Hong Kong. While emergence in a public forum may help quell persistent rumors about his fate and buoyed Alibaba Group’s shares, it has done little to resolve the Chinese e-commerce giant’s troubled relationship with regulators that is making some investors hesitate about owning its stock.
“What his actual state is will be completely up to Beijing to reveal to us,” Leland Miller, CEO of U.S.-based consultancy China Beige Book told Reuters. “What we do know is whether Jack is running around, Jack is hiding or something else, Alibaba is not in the clear. There is a lot more of the story still to see.”