Alibaba's shares surge as Jack Ma reappears

20 Janvier, 2021, 13:03 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Jack Ma addressed scores of teachers on an online conference

Ma has resurfaced after months out of public view, quashing intense speculation about the plight of the billionaire grappling with escalating scrutiny over his internet empire. Ma, known for his love for the limelight, has seen his e-commerce empire Alibaba and fintech giant Ant Group increasingly in the crosshairs of the Chinese authorities in recent months.

The Alibaba co-founder addressed teachers receiving the Jack Ma Rural Teachers Award.

The conglomerate's present difficulties date back to late October, the last time Ma was seen in public, when he delivered a speech that was sharply critical of both regulators and China's banking sector.

A spokesperson for the Jack Ma Foundation, his charitable arm, confirmed he "participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event".

Chinese officials suspended Ma's blockbuster $37billion initial public offering of his Ant Group on the direct order of President Jinping according to the Wall Street Journal. The foundation and Alibaba didn't respond to questions about Ma's status and when his next public event might be.

Jack Ma had virtually disappeared from the public eye since early November, when he was hauled in front of regulators. It's unclear where Ma was speaking from, but the video briefly shows him visiting a rural boarding school in Zhejiang on January 10.

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In the speech, Ma praised China's poverty alleviation efforts, a central target of the Communist leadership, and vowed to dedicate more efforts towards helping rural teachers.

"China has. entered a new stage of development, and is moving towards common prosperity".

A Citi Private Bank report noted that its ultra-rich clients fled from Alibaba - once amongst the favorite single stock picks - after reports emerged that it was being probed by Chinese authorities.

According to CNN, Alibaba's Hong Kong-listed shares surged by more than 6 percent following the reports of his reappearance.

Ma, a charismatic former teacher turned Internet entrepreneur, retired as chairman of Alibaba in 2019 but has long attracted attention for his outspokenness and flamboyant antics, performing as a rockstar at company conferences.

That clashed with the ruling party's marathon campaign to reduce surging debt in China's financial system that prompted fears about a possible bank crisis and led rating agencies to cut Beijing's credit rating for government borrowing.

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