Chinese business mogul, Jack Ma, considered missing for months – since 24 October -has re-appeared. Following his public outburst when he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech at a Shanghai forum that set him on a collision course with officials.
Turning up online, the wealthiest man in China met 100 Chinese rural teachers via a live video meeting on an unexpected Wednesday 20 January morning, triggering a sharp jump in the Hong Kong listed shares of the e-commerce giant.
Social media speculation over the whereabouts of China’s most prolific entrepreneur had swirled for weeks after news reports went out that he missed the final episode of a TV show that featured him as a judge, amid a regulatory clampdown by Beijing on his sprawling business empire.
Tianmu News, a news portal under Zhejiang Online, which is backed by the provincial Zhejiang government, first reported that Ma had met with the teachers via a live video conference on Wednesday. The Jack Ma Foundation said Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event. Alibaba Group also confirmed that Jack Ma attended said event. Alibaba is currently the target of an antitrust investigation launched last month by Chinese authorities, who have in recent months accelerated a crackdown on anti-competitive behaviour in China’s booming internet space.
In the 50-second video, Ma, dressed in a navy pullover, spoke directly to the camera from a room with grey marble walls and a striped carpet. It was not clear from the video or the Tianmu News article where he was speaking from.
All we know is that he addressed teachers receiving the Jack Ma Rural Teachers Award. Previously, they would have attended a ceremony organised by the Jack Ma Foundation in the Chinese seaside city of Sanya.
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