The celebrity billionaire had not been in public since June 25, when he made a speech criticizing the Chinese government’s financial regulators, resulting in harsh action on his business empire.
Treacherous Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, whose recent headlines had sparked speculation about his whereabouts, made his first public appearance in nearly three months on Wednesday.
The celebrity tech tycoon gave a live video address to a group of Chinese teachers during an educational program supported by the Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic group supported by the Jack Ma Foundation.
Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock jumped 8.5 percent in response to the news. The e-commerce giant’s listed shares in New York also climbed 3.5 percent after hours of trading. Even Hong Kong shares of Ma’s film studio, Alibaba Picture Group, ended 3 percent on Wednesday.
The video comment was Ma’s first public appearance since October 25, when he made the now-infamous speech that would turn his Alibaba business empire into turmoil.
Addressing a collection of business leaders and government data at a financial conference in Shanghai, Ma sharply criticized China’s regulators and state-owned banks for their backwardness. The comment affected China’s Communist Party leadership, with Chinese President Xi Jinping personally ordering the cancellation of the planned imminent public distribution for Alibaba’s fintech firm Ant Financial.
Ant is expected to raise at least $ 34 billion, Ant’s IPO will be its biggest stock-market debut in history.
Since then, the clouds have only darkened more for Ma and Alibaba. In late December, Chinese regulators explicitly announced that they were launching an antitrust investigation into Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce business, as well as implementing new regulations that disrupted Ant’s business activities. Around the same time, government investigators were reported to have entered Alibaba’s headquarters in Hangzhou.
Speculation around Mao’s whereabouts was gaining steam in early January when reporters noticed that the loving celebrity businessman hadn’t been out in about two months. The trend of ignoring the weak laws of China and Beijing’s past figures, who are not rich or famous in any way, was the backdrop of the rumor mongers.
When China’s most recognizable actress, Fan Binging, was accused of tax evasion in 2018, she spent months in secret custody. Guo Guangchang, the billionaire founder of the Chinese group Folgun Group, disappeared from police custody in 2015 as part of an explained “special investigation”. The tycoon later returned to his position but did not stop China’s investor community before the incident and sank Fosun’s shares.