Jack Ma resurfaced on Wednesday after months of absence from public view and Twitterati unleashed a meme fest. The Chinese billionaire, founder of Alibaba, spoke to hundreds of teachers at a virtual conference, for the first time since October 2020. State-affiliated media Global Times' reporter shared a video of Ma addressing the teachers, and said, "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."
Ma's disappearance had spurred speculations about his whereabouts. Quoting Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, Hong Kong-based The Asia Times had stated that Jack Ma was 'embracing supervision'. This had led netizens from across the globe to voice concerns about Jack Ma's wellbeing.
But now that he has resurfaced, netizens heaved a sigh of relief and went on their daily business of making memes. Some are still questioning whether Ma made that address voluntarily.
Meanwhile, Beijing that had launched an anti-monopoly probe against Ant Group and Alibaba Group continues to investigate the companies. Ant Group's IPO launch, biggest in the world and worth $37 billion, was also torpedoed by the Chinese government due to the investigation.
All hell broke loose for Ma and his empire when the billionaire criticised China's regulatory system in October last year for its 'pawnshop mentality'. He called for reforms and said that companies like AliPay were unsuitable for a financial regulatory structure like that of the country's.