Jack Ma addresses teachers and principals in his video for the Ma Yun Country Teacher Award Ceremony.
Credit: Tianmu News

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance since his “pawnshop” speech on 24 October 2020.

Tianmu News reported that Jack Ma met with 100 rural teachers in China through an online meeting for the Ma Yun Country Teacher Award Ceremony on 20 January 2021.

The Jack Ma Public Welfare Foundation confirmed Jack Ma’s online attendance for the event and said that he never failed to appear for the event to present awards to rural teachers and principals.

The event was first launched back in 2015, on the same day as the traditional Chinese Laba Festiva. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was moved online.

“When the epidemic is over, we must find time to make up for everyone’s trip to Sanya, and then we will meet again!” Jack Ma said in his speech.

Jack Ma is hailed as China’s high-profile entrepreneur and is a “rags-to-riches” role model for many business owners. Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

While the video made it clear that Jack Ma is alive and well, it is not known where and when it was recorded. After a string of rumours of his disappearance surfaced, it was reported that he was just laying low after calling for reform. According to sources quoted by CNBC’s David Faber, Jack Ma is said to be somewhere in Hangzhou, China, where the Alibaba Group is headquartered.

According to a Reuters and Global Times report, Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed shares increased by more than 6% after the reports of Jack Ma’s reappearance surfaced.

Techie Grab’s founder Xie Pu said that the media and the public have over-interpreted Jack Ma’s move to keep a low public profile and that his decision should not be a problem for Alibaba.

Xie Pu also said that they shouldn’t also over-interpret Jack Ma’s re-appearance either. “Alibaba still has a good governance structure,” Xie Pu mentioned.

Written by John Paul Joaquin