Chinese Tycoon Jack Ma Delivers Speech In First Public Appearance Since Ant IPO Pulled

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Chinese tycoon Jack Ma has resurfaced, giving a virtual speech to rural teachers in China after nearly three months out of the public eye, The Economic Times reported on Wednesday (Jan. 20).

The founder of Alibaba Group, Ma dropped out of sight after his dual initial public offering (IPO) was pulled by Beijing, which happened following a controversial speech he gave at a Shanghai financial forum in October, according to reports.

Ma reportedly said in the video remarks that he has been “learning and thinking” and feels Chinese entrepreneurs should uphold the country’s visions of “rural revitalization and common prosperity,” per ET, citing a Tianmu News report. That news service is run by the official Zhejiang Daily Group.

The event for rural teachers is hosted annually by Ma. The video shows him touring the elementary school in Hangzhou, where he grew up. He also reportedly told the 100 teachers that he is focusing on his philanthropic endeavors. He didn’t mention the Beijing debacle.

Ma’s reported video comments were peppered with ideals espoused by the Communist Party, ET said. He discussed the importance of revitalizing China’s countryside and touched on narrowing income disparities. He suggested that younger talent take up work in rural areas.

“Recently, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking. We made a firmer resolution to devote ourselves to education philanthropy,” Ma said in the video, which was first posted online by a local blog, per ET.

There has been endless speculation regarding Ma’s whereabouts and his relationship with China’s President Xi Jinping. Chinese regulators pulled Ant’s estimated $37 billion IPO in November. Regulators launched an antitrust probe into Alibaba and ordered Ant to retool its business.

Following Ant’s halted IPO, millions of investors pulled out of five mutual funds, draining $3 billion. Alibaba Group, which billionaire Jack Ma founded in 1999, owns about one-third of Ant, a spinoff company. He then created Alipay in 2004.

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