SHANGHAI (UPDATE) - Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma met with 100 rural teachers in China via a video meeting on Wednesday, local government media reported, making the businessman's first appearance in public since October.
Tianmu News, a news portal under Zhejiang Online, a government-backed news website, reported the meeting on Wednesday.
Ma's absence from public view has fueled social media speculation over his whereabouts amid a Chinese regulatory clampdown on his sprawling business empire.
In November last year, China made a last–minute decision to suspend the record-breaking IPO of Ma's fintech giant Ant Group, which caused shares of Ma's e-commerce titan Alibaba to plunge.
Before Chinese authorities canceled Ant Group's IPO, analysts said it was likely going to be the world’s biggest initial public offering and the company worth over $500 billion in the near future.
China suspended the IPO a day after Ma was summoned by regulators amid growing official pushback against the company.
The move was quickly interpreted as a signal from China’s communist leaders that they were uncomfortable with the enormous influence of Ant Group, which has helped revolutionize commerce and personal finance in China but eroded the power of state financial institutions.
- With reports from Reuters