World

Alibaba and Ant co-founder Jack Ma makes first public appearance since Oct 2020

(G.N.S) Dt. 20

Shanghai

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma met 100 rural teachers in China via a live video meeting on Wednesday morning, in the businessman’s first appearance since October 2020.

China’s most recognizable entrepreneur addressed scores of teachers on an online conference Wednesday, part of an annual event the billionaire hosts to recognize the achievements of rural educators. His appearance, first reported in a local blog, was confirmed by people familiar with the matter.

Ma’s re-emergence may help quell persistent rumors about his fate while Beijing pursues investigations into online finance titan Ant Group Co. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The executive had kept out of public view since early November, when Chinese regulators torpedoed Ant’s $35 billion IPO, tightened fintech regulations, then ordered an overhaul of Ant and launched a separate antitrust probe into Alibaba — all in a span of days.

Ma had not appeared in public since October 24, where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech at a Shanghai forum that set him on a collision course with officials, leading to suspension of a $37-billion IPO of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Group.

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