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Alibaba founder Jack Ma appears for the first time since crackdown on his tech empire

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Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, during the opening ceremony of the 3rd All-China Young Entrepreneurs Summit on Sept. 25, 2020 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China.

Lyu Ming | China News Service | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Alibaba founder Jack Ma has emerged after weeks out of the spotlight that sparked speculation about his whereabouts as his companies face increased regulatory scrutiny.

Alibaba’s Hong Kong-listed stock was up 5% on news of his reappearance.

In a video posted on Chinese social media, Ma addressed rural teachers as part of one his charity foundation’s initiatives. The annual event, which is usually hosted in the resort city of Sanya, sees the Jack Ma Foundation celebrate the achievements of rural teachers who are awarded cash support.

“Jack Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event on January 20,” a spokesperson for the Jack Ma Foundation said.

In October, Ma made some comments that appeared critical of China’s financial regulator.

It was one of the reasons attributed to Chinese regulators pulling the plug on what would have been a record-setting initial public offering of Ant Group, the financial technology giant Ma founded.