After completely dropping out of the public eye for three months, Alibaba
The circumstances surrounding Ma's relative disappearance are still unknown, but at the very least, China's richest man still appears to be very much alive and well. Ma's sudden appearance had to do with his philanthropic organization, the Jack Ma Foundation, and the Rural Teacher Initiative. Ma, a former teacher himself, spoke to rural teachers, voicing his support for their work and asserting the need to improve education in rural China.
"To support and serve rural teachers well, to do a good job of assisting education authorities, to improve education in rural areas, and to work hard for rural revitalisation and common prosperity ... I think that's the responsibility of our generation of entrepreneurs," Ma said in the video, quoted by the South China Morning Post.
Ma's initiative, which began in 2015, celebrates outstanding teachers in rural China. Previously, Ma had been on hand at ceremonies to present grants to teachers, though due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's ceremony was digital. Attempts to reach out to Ma after the digital ceremony has failed, with both Ant Group and Alibaba declining to comment to the press.
While there's still no confirmation on what Ma is up to and where he has been, there seems to be palpable relief from investors of Alibaba worldwide. Despite not having an active role in Alibaba any longer (Ma having stepped down as CEO), Ma's well-being still weighs heavily on investors' minds due to his crucial role in the Chinese corporate sector.
Shares of Alibaba in foreign markets were up on Wednesday, with shares listed on the Hong-Kong market up as much as 9%. Alibaba's shares listed on the NYSE were also up considerably, benefitting from a pre-market surge. Shares surged 6.2% in pre-market trading, reaching $267.34 as markets opened. Alibaba's share price slid slightly during daytime trading, sliding 0.7% to $265.49 by the time trading wrapped up for the day.