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January 21, 2021

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Alibaba shares soar as Ma returns

Shares in Internet giant Alibaba soared more than 8 percent yesterday after billionaire founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance since November. Shares in Alibaba soared 8.5 percent to HK$265.00 (US$34.19) in Hong Kong yesterday.

Ma made an appearance for the first time in more than two months during a virtual meeting with rural teachers.

The Jack Ma Foundation has held an awards ceremony in Sanya, Hainan Province, for village teachers on the Laba Festival for the last five years.

The foundation said in a statement that Ma “joined a virtual conference and award ceremony with 100 village teachers.”

In a video message, Ma said: “Our commitment and our tribute to village teachers remains unchanged although we can’t meet face to face.”

“Although we’re scattered in different places, we pay our tribute not only to the award winners but also to as many as 2.9 million village teachers all around the country.”

“We’ll catch up after the (COVID-19) pandemic settles down and I hope to see you then.”

The Hangzhou native, a former English teacher, has retired from everyday management of the Alibaba Group but still remains controller of financial technology giant Ant Group.

Ma said he would be devoting more time to educational causes and charity work when he quit as chief executive officer in September 2019.

Alibaba’s share price in Hong Kong is down 10 percent since October when regulators suspended the planned multibillion-dollar stock market debut of Ant Group, a financial platform that grew out of Alibaba’s payments service, Alipay.

Alibaba and other companies have also been fined for violating anti-monopoly rules.

Ant Group was told by China’s financial watchdog to ensure its operations were in line with the latest online lending rules and other fintech regulations after its massive IPO was halted in early November.

China also launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the e-commerce and fintech empire last month as part of an accelerating crackdown on monopolistic behavior online.

Both Alibaba and Ant said they will cooperate with regulatory requests.

Ma is a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and a member of its partnership committee and remains a popular speaker at public occasions at home and abroad.




 

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