Alibaba founder Jack Ma made an unusual visit to his Hangzhou campus on May 10, during the holding of ‘Ali Day’, an annual event organized by the Chinese e-commerce giant. His appearance was a surprise, as Ma has long been away from public scrutiny due to regulatory conflicts surrounding his group. The billionaire has kept an extremely low profile since he delivered a speech in October in Shanghai criticizing Chinese financial regulators, setting off a chain of events that led to the filing of what would have been a record $ 37 billion initial public offering of Ant Group, a subsidiary of Alibaba.
Amid the turmoil, Ma was seen alongside several Alibaba executives on an open-air campus shuttle bus, according to a photo taken by an employee at the event and accessed by Reuters. In a blue T-shirt, white pants, and a pair of Chinese-style cloth shoes, Ma was smiling.
“It’s very exciting to see Jack,” said the employee, who also asked to remain anonymous. “It’s a shame I didn’t get a chance to take a picture with him.” Considered China’s most famous businessman, Ma enjoyed cult status among the staff even after stepping down as president in 2019.
Ma, who lives in Hangzhou, disappeared from public view for three months before reappearing in January. , speaking to a group of teachers via video, which caused Alibaba’s stock to surge, but has not made any other public appearances since. Last month, regulators imposed a radical restructuring on Ant Group, while Alibaba received a record antitrust fine of 18.2 billion yuan ($ 2.84 billion) after an investigation found it abused its dominant position in the market.