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Jack Ma Pops Up Again, Easing Fears Surrounding His Disappearance

By Rich Duprey - Updated Jan 20, 2021 at 12:13PM

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The billionaire had not been seen in public or heard from in weeks.

Investors in Alibaba (BABA -1.72%) can finally exhale. Although analysts had assumed founder and chairman Jack Ma was simply keeping a low profile and had not been "disappeared" for criticizing Chinese regulators, it was only recently that the billionaire businessman resurfaced in a video address to one of his charity foundation's programs.

It was the first time in weeks that Ma had been seen. And now, a spokesman said he participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event that was held today. Alibaba's stock jumped 5% on Hong Kong exchanges on the news.

Jack Ma

Image source: Alibaba.

Ma had given a speech in October that was seen as criticizing financial regulators because he said they were stifling innovation in the industry. It was an inopportune moment, though, as Ma's Ant Financial was in the process of going public through an IPO. It was stopped by regulators at the last minute. 

Ma and Ant executives were also summoned to appear before the regulators, who then began a broader probe into Alibaba being a monopoly. Although Ma made today's charity event, he had missed other functions for organizations he has created.

Still, it was hoped that Ma's sudden disappearance from public life was simply an attempt to keep from further stirring up a hornet's nest that would unsettle his companies any more. 

Now with his reappearance, investors in the tech stock can calm down some, though seeing him in person as opposed to just one video would quell any remaining suspicions.

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