His resurfacing came in the form of a video published by Chinese state media, per CNN, and showed the headlines-making finance figure addressing teachers as part of a charity event of some sort. A subsidiary of the Zhejiang government's official paper, Tianmu News, first shared the footage.
Ma had not been seen or heard from since October, notably disappearing from the public eye a little more than a week ahead of the planned listing of Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The IPO, however, was stopped at the last minute by regulators in China. In the months since, per the report, Ma's businesses have been targets of increased tech-related crackdowns in the region. Ma was critical of the Chinese government prior to his disappearance, which also led to intense online speculation as to the nature of his whereabouts.
In addition to easing concerns over Ma's whereabouts, which had included widespread speculation focused on the exact nature of his disappearance from the spotlight, the billionaire's re-emergence on Wednesday resulted in an expected stock leap for Alibaba. Shares of the Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, per MarketWatch, jumped an estimated 7.3 percent toward a more than six-week high in premarket trading.
"Jack Ma participated in the online ceremony of the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event on January 20," a rep for the Jack Ma Foundation said in a statement to the Associated Press on Wednesday. Reps for the foundation and Ma's Alibaba company have not responded to publications' inquiries about the current status of Ma, nor have they said anything about the possibility of additional public appearances in the future.