Jack Ma, the technology billionaire famous as the founder of Alibaba Group, was recently spotted in Hong Kong. The Chinese entrepreneur has been keeping a low profile for a year now and reportedly visited Hong Kong to meet business associates.
The recent visit adds to the very limited number of public appearances that Jack Ma has made since the regulatory clampdown on Alibaba Group that began last year. The crackdown, on Alibaba and other such technology and e-commerce conglomerates in China, addressed issues ranging from monopoly violations to consumer rights. Alibaba was fined a record $2.75 billion in April over such antitrust violations.
Citing two sources familiar to the matter who refused to be identified, Reuters reports that Jack Ma visited Hong Kong last week and met at least "a few" business associates over meals. If the sources are to be believed, this was Jack Ma's first trip to Hong Kong since last October.
Jack Ma lives in Hangzhou, China, where Alibaba is also headquartered. Though some of Alibaba's offshore business operations are in Hong Kong. Alibaba is also a listed company on the Hong Kong stock market, along with the The New York Stock Exchange.
Jack Ma's disappearance from the public view followed a speech by him in October last year that criticised China's financial regulators. The financial crackdown that followed on his business empire ultimately led to the suspension of Ant Group's world record-setting initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong due in November.
Ever since, Jack Ma has been refraining from public appearances and even online presence. He was first seen this year in January in a video correspondence with a group of teachers. Subsequent but seldom visits to various institutes by Jack Ma then began to ease concerns around his absence from the limelight.
For instance, Jack Ma attended Alibaba's "Ali Day" staff and family event at the company's Hangzhou campus in May. He was then seen in photographs shared on Chinese social media last month, depicting his visit to agricultural greenhouses in the eastern Zhejiang province. Such appearances are still very few and far though, especially for a personality who used to be the poster boy for technology entrepreneurs at a point.
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