First video of Jack Ma addressing teachers after months of disappearance

22 Janvier, 2021, 10:15 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A close-up of Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma's face

Ma himself started out as an English teacher before going on to found Alibaba, which is now one of the world's most valuable companies with a market value of almost $700 billion.

A representative for the charitable Jack Ma Foundation confirmed to reporters that Ma had "participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher initiative event on January 20".

Shares of Alibaba, the e-commerce giant co-founded by Ma that owns about a third of Ant, jumped 8.5 per cent in Hong Kong and were up nearly the same level in pre-market USA trade.

During the online conference, Mr. Ma said, "During this period of time, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking, and we have become more determined to devote ourselves to education and public welfare". The Shanghai Stock Exchange (which is run via a nonprofit controlled by the Chinese government) told CNN in a statement at the time the IPO was postponed due to "major issues" which meant Ant Group did not "meet the listing conditions or disclosure requirements", and the Chinese Foreign Ministry characterised it as a matter of "self-regulation". They also ordered the fintech company to overhaul its business.

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Alibaba's stock has declined a lot since the crackdown on Ant Group, lagging other Chinese tech firms like Tencent, Meituan and Xiaomi. Debate about his whereabouts arose because Beijing has in the past quietly detained billionaires that have run afoul of the law, without immediate trial.

According to the local press, the Jack Ma Foundation usually awards 100 teachers on the Laba Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated on the eighth day of the La Month, the 12th month of the Chinese calendar, in duty-free shopping hotspot Sanya in Hainan Island. "Working hard for rural revitalization and common prosperity is the responsibility for our generation of businessmen".

Meanwhile, Beijing that had launched an anti-monopoly probe against Ant Group and Alibaba Group continues to investigate the companies. Alibaba and the government haven't responded to questions about him. The early evidence suggests regulators aren't in a hurry to let up. Just a few hours after Ma's reappearance, China's central bank released draft rules to curb market concentration in online payments, potentially dealing another blow to Ant and rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Alibaba is based in Hangzhou, which is the capital of the province. But finance experts said Xi's government was uneasy about Alibaba's dominance in retailing and Ant's potential financial risks. "Both are very important to China's economy and its people", he said.

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