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Chinese billionaire Jack Ma resurfaces

Jessica Yun
·2-min read
HANGZHOU, CHINA - JUNE 25, 2015 - Jack Ma, founder of Ant Group, attends the inaugural meeting of Zhejiang E-Merchant Bank. Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, June 25, 2015. On November 3, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange suspended the listing of Ant Technology Group Co., LTD.- PHOTOGRAPH BY Costfoto / Barcroft Studios / Future Publishing (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Jack Ma, founder of Ant Group, in 2015. (Photo credit: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

High-profile Chinese businessman Jack Ma seems to have made his first appearance after disappearing from the public eye for months.

Speculation swirled around the whereabouts of Ma following media reports that he had not been seen since late last year after Chinese regulators ordered an operations restructure of Ant Group and launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba in October.

Ma appeared to resurface in an online conference for rural teachers on Wednesday.

A local Chinese blog first reported his appearance, which was subsequently confirmed by people close to the matter, Bloomberg reported.

Ma was an English teacher in China before he became the Asian superpower’s most high-profile entrepreneur and the founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The CEO of Hong Kong-based private equity firm Primavera Group, Fred Hu, told Reuters last week that he believed Ma was “safe and sound” and “laying low”, but did not elaborate any further.

Prior to the online conference, Ma’s most recent public appearance appears to have been the opening ceremony of an annual shopping event in China on 31 October, according to The Guardian.

He was due to appear on the judging panel on his own talent show in November but failed to appear due to “scheduling conflicts”.

On 24 November, he made some controversial remarks at the Bund Summit in Shanghai by criticising China’s regulation for being behind the times.

“Today’s financial system is the legacy of the Industrial Age,” Ma said in the speech.

“We must set up a new one for the next generation and young people. We must reform the current system.”

The CCP’s regulatory crackdown on Alibaba and Ant Group came days after the speech.

Ma’s most recent Tweet was from 10 October 2020.

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