Chinese billionaire Jack Ma took part in a conference call with 100 village teachers on Wednesday, showing himself to the public for the first time since October. At the news of his speech, the shares of the Alibaba group he founded in Hong Kong jumped by 6 percent.
Ma's virtual meeting with teachers was first reported by the portal Tianmu, associated with the authorities of Zhejiang province in eastern China, and later confirmed by Alibaba. The Jacek Ma Foundation, in turn, announced that the billionaire took part in its annual Rural Teachers Initiative celebration.
On the news of Ma's speech, Alibaba's shares on the Hong Kong stock exchange jumped more than 6 percent, while the Hang Seng index rose by 0.64 percent. - reported the Reuters agency.
The founder of Alibaba, one of the most famous Chinese entrepreneurs, has not appeared in public since October 2020. His absence in public space - incl. The cancellation of his participation in a TV show in which he was to appear as a juror sparked a wave of speculation on social media.
In his October speech, Ma criticized Chinese state-owned banks and the financial regulation system. Chinese authorities later prevented the planned $ 37 billion debut of Alibaba-linked Ant Group and launched an anti-trust investigation against Alibaba.
According to sources from the Financial Times, the authorities also censored press reports about the proceedings. There has been speculation in the Western press that Beijing wants to show the billionaire who really rules the country.
In a 50-second video of a meeting with teachers, the billionaire addresses the winners of the Jack Ma Rural Teachers' Award, which had been distributed in previous years in the city of Sanya in the Hainan island-province. "We can't meet in Sanya because of the epidemic," he explains in a speech. It is not clear from the recording or Chinese media reports where Ma is.
From Canton Andrzej Borowiak (PAP)