Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma resurfaced at a school in Hangzhou, the BBC and South China Morning Post (SCMP) said in a report. The billionaire has rarely been seen in public for the past three years.
Ma has kept a low profile since 2020 after he criticised China’s financial regulators. Not only Ma but many other tech entrepreneurs and billionaires, including founder of China Renaissance Holdings Bao Fan, have disappeared after Chinese President Xi Jinping carried out a crackdown on tech entrepreneurs.
The SCMP said that Ma returned to China after spending more than a year overseas. The news outlet which is owned by Alibaba in its report said that Ma made a short stopover in Hong Kong to meet friends and also visited the international art fair Art Basel.
The report added that Ma travelled to several nations to learn about agricultural technology but there was no explanation regarding his disappearance from public view in recent years.
Ma was once China’s richest man but he gave up control of financial technology giant Ant Group in January 2023.
Experts said that it was evidence that the Communist Party of China (CPC) was angered by Ma’s outspokenness and became too powerful for the entity.
Ma got into trouble with Xi Jinping and the CPC when in October 2020 he said traditional banks had a pawn-shop mentality while addressing a financial conference.
The very next month, the world largest stock market floatation driven by Ma’s Ant was cancelled at the last minute by Chinese authorities, who cited “major” regulatory issues.
After that Ma has been seen in Spain, the Netherlands, Thailand and Australia and several other nations. A Financial Times report said Ma was living in the Japanese capital Tokyo for six months.
There were rumours that the billionaire was placed under house arrest or was detained after he stopped making public appearances.
Several high profile executives like Guo Guangchang, chairman of conglomerate Fosun International, known in the western world for owning Premier League club Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chinese-Canadian businessman Xiao Jianhua, disappeared and then were lated jailed for criticising the Chinese government and the President and the party.
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