What Jack Ma Said After Resurfacing In Video
56-year-old Jack Ma vanished from public view in November
Billionaire Alibaba and Ant co-founder Jack Ma, missing for months, has resurfaced with a video in which he said, "We'll meet again after the epidemic is over".
Jack Ma made the remarks in a video meeting with rural teachers in China on Wednesday, Tianmu News, a news portal under Zhejiang Online, a government-backed news website, reported.
The 56-year-old vanished from public view in early November, after China started investigating his online finance titan Ant Group and Alibaba Group. China launched its crackdown on November 2, just before Ant's planned dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Chinese regulators scuppered Ant's $35 billion IPO, tightened regulations and launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba.
Over the past few months, there has been massive speculation surrounding the entrepreneur amid escalating scrutiny of his internet empire. He also missed the final episode of a TV show on which he was to appear as a judge - ostensibly due to a "scheduling conflict" -- which led to wild theories on social media.
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
The teacher-turned-businessman reappeared during a rural teacher-themed social welfare event via video link on Wednesday, according to China's Global Times.
He attended the Rural Teachers Award ceremony, an annual event launched by the Jack Ma Foundation in 2015, and addressed 100 teachers.
"Recently, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking. We made a firmer resolution to devote ourselves to education philanthropy," he said in the video. "Working hard for rural revitalization and common prosperity is the responsibility for our generation of businessmen."
Before this, the last time he was seen was in October at a conference in Shanghai where he described traditional banks as operating with a "pawn shop" mentality and blasted China's regulatory system. He appealed to banks to support unconventional approaches to make it easier for entrepreneurs and young people to borrow. Days later, China swooped down on him.
Reports quoted Jack Ma as wishing teachers and telling them that the event, usually held in Hainan, had to be online this year due to the Covid pandemic.
"We cannot meet in Sanya due to the epidemic," he said in the speech, which did not discuss his whereabouts.
"When the epidemic is over, we must find time to make up for everyone's trip to Sanya, and then we will meet again!"
Beijing's crackdown on Jack Ma's trillion-dollar empire is part of a broader campaign to rein in Chinese tech giants that Beijing views as wielding outsized power and too much control.
(with inputs from Agencies)