For the first time since October 25, when he gave a speech that criticized Chinese government’s financial regulators, Jack Ma was seen in public Wednesday. Kind of. He technically made his first public appearance, although it was via a live video address to a group of rural Chinese teachers who were receiving accolades during an event that his philanthropic group was a big part of.
“Jack Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event on January 20,” a spokesperson for the Jack Ma Foundation said in a very factual based statement.
Based on this appearance by Ma, the stock price of his company Alibaba immediately soared. Trading for his Hong Kong listed stock rose 8.5% from the news, and the New York listed shares for his e-commerce mega company rose 3.5%.
Throughout January there was huge mystery and intrigue as to Ma’s whereabouts, since he had literally not been heard from or seen publicly in almost three months. Many people speculated that he had gone missing, and may have even been in custody of Chinese authorities, or being forced to undergo some sort of re-education process.
It was eventually confirmed that Ma was just lying low. It is not known if Wednesday’s appearance will mark the return to a more public life for Ma, or just a one time appearance because his foundation was such a big part of the event he delivered his remarks to.