Jack is back — and investors are relieved.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s stock price surged Wednesday after billionaire founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance in nearly three months.
Alibaba’s US-listed shares jumped 6.8 percent in premarket trading to $268.81 as of 7:03 a.m. after Ma resurfaced at an online ceremony that his charity organized for rural teachers, quelling concerns about his lengthy silence.
The English teacher-turned-tech tycoon spoke from a room adorned with floral arrangements and a large painting in a 50-second video that also included footage of Ma visiting a school in China’s Tonglu county last week.
Before the brief clip, Ma had not been seen in public since he made an Oct. 24 speech slamming China’s regulatory system. That apparently drew the ire of Chinese officials, who halted the initial public offering of Ma’s digital payments firm, Ant Group, the following month.
Ma’s unusual absence stirred speculation earlier this month that he had gone missing — especially after he reportedly failed to appear on the final episode of “Africa’s Business Heroes,” an “Apprentice”-style TV show he created.
But Duncan Clark, an investor and adviser on China’s tech sector who’s known Ma for decades, recently told NPR that Ma had just “been told to lay low.”
Ma, 56, is China’s fourth-richest man with a total fortune of about $53 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. His net worth has dropped by about $8 billion since the day of his fateful October speech.
With Post wires