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Alibaba stock up 8% after Jack Ma reappears in public (Ld)

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Beijing, Jan 20 (IANS) Ending speculation about his whereabouts, Alibaba Co-founder Jack Ma reappeared in public view after at least three months amid increased scrutiny of his companies by Chinese regulators. The news took the shares of the company up more than 8 per cent in Hong Kong.

The news of his reappearance came after a video of his on Chinese social media appeared.

In the video, Ma can be seen addressing rural teachers as part of one his charity foundation’s initiatives, CNBC reported on Tuesday.

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The annual event is hosted to recognise the achievements of rural educators.

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

The reports of his going out of public view emerged soon after the billionaire made some comments that sounded critical of China’s financial regulator, triggering speculation of him going “missing.”

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Weeks after Ma made the critical comments, the flotation of his financial services firm Ant Group was cancelled by the Chinese authorities.

Ma, a former English teacher, became the international poster boy for Chinese e-commerce.

But last month, as China’s top market watchdog began investigation into alleged anti-competition practices by the e-commerce giant Alibaba, the country also laid out “rectification plan” for Ma’s fintech venture Ant Group.

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According to a report in TechCrunch, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, “summoned Ant Group for regulatory talks on December 26th, announcing a sweeping plan for the fintech firm to ‘rectify’ its regulatory violations”.

The banking authority laid out a five-point compliance agenda for Ant Group.

The agenda is that Ant Group should return to its roots in payments and bring more transparency to transactions.

Ant Group said it has established an internal “rectification workforce” to work on all the regulatory requirements.

–IANS

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