Jack Ma is back: Chinese tycoon reappears on video sending Alibaba shares up
Chinese billionaire, Alibaba and Ant Group co-founder Jack Ma reappears after almost three months of silence, sending Alibaba shares surging. The businessman delivered a speech for rural teachers at an online ceremony, as first reported by Tianmu News. Ma spoke from a room with grey walls, a large painting, and floral arrangements. The location of the room is unclear.
Alibaba shares jumped 7.5% on the IG platform, currently trading at $269.84. In the last three months, the stock has suffered through volatility following the Ant Group’s IPO suspension, Alibaba anti-trust probe, and Jack Ma’s disappearance.
Speculation rose over Ma’s whereabouts as he missed an African business show where he was supposed to judge. Earlier in the year, CNBC reported that Ma was ‘lying low’ according to a ‘person familiar with the matter’.
In one of his last public appearances in October, Ma criticized the Chinese financial system for thick regulation, risk-free approach, and ‘pawnshop’ mentality. Since then his business came under fire of regulatory scrutiny.
In November, a record $37-billion Ant Group IPO was suspended, citing ‘major issues’ and changes in ‘the financial technology regulatory environment’. In late December Chinese regulators initiated an antitrust investigation in Alibaba for alleged monopolistic behavior.
Ma is not the first businessman to fall out of favor with the Chinese government. Rem Zhiqiang, a former real-estate tycoon, was handed 18 years in jail for corruption and abuse of power soon after he published an explosive essay calling Xi Jinping ‘a clown’ for his handling of coronavirus.
In 2019, US-based Chinese businessman and dissident Guo Wengui predicted Ma’s fall-out with the Chinese government, stating that Ma will be ‘killed or jailed’ in the next year.