China's most well-known billionaire Jack Ma who made headlines for 'missing' for a couple of months has resurfaced. His absence from public view spurred speculations about his whereabouts following intense scrutiny of his empire. Ma, on Wednesday, addressed hundreds of teachers at an online conference. The conference is part of an annual event Ma hosts to recognise the efforts of rural educators.
Sharing a video by Ma, state-affiliated media Global Times' reporter tweeted: "Jack Ma not disappear, here we go: Ma just had a video conference with 100 village teachers on Wednesday morning, saying: after COVID19, we'll meet each other again."
In a follow-up tweet, senior reporter Qingqing Chen said, "Ma, who used to be an English teacher and founder of Alibaba, also gives wishes to village teachers via a video on Wednesday, saying usually the activity is held in Sanya in southern Hainan but this year, due to Covid19 it has to be done via video conference."
Ma, who used to be an English teacher and founder of #Alibaba, also gives wishes to village teachers via a video on Wednesday, saying usually the activity is held in Sanya in southern Hainan but this year, due to #Covid19 it has to be done via video conference. pic.twitter.com/yfi7oPB5Sb— Qingqing_Chen (@qingqingparis) January 20, 2021
Reports of Ma's absence made headlines earlier this month. Quoting Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, Hong Kong-based The Asia Times had stated that Jack Ma is 'embracing supervision'. Ma had not made any public appearance since October 2020, raising eyebrows over his whereabouts. He was also missing from the final episode of his own talent show 'Africa's Business Heroes' that gives a chance to budding African entrepreneurs to compete for $1.5 million.
While Ma has re-emerged, Beijing continues to investigate Ant Group and Alibaba Group. It all began when Ma criticised China's regulatory system in October for its 'pawnshop mentality', as he called it. He called for reforms in the system and said that companies like AliPay was unsuitable for financial regulatory structure like that of China's. This happened days before Ant Group was supposed to launch one of the world's biggest IPOs worth $37 billion in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Following the criticism, the Chinese authorities launched an 'anti-monopoly' probe against the company, pulling the plug for the IPO.