March 27 – Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who has rarely been seen in public in the past three years, has reappeared at a school in Hangzhou, according to a report.
The 58-year-old has kept a low profile since criticizing China’s financial regulators in 2020.
Ma was the most high-profile Chinese billionaire to go missing amid a crackdown on tech entrepreneurs.
He recently returned to China after more than a year abroad, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Alibaba-owned newspaper said he made a brief stopover in Hong Kong, where he met friends and also briefly visited Art Basel, an international art fair.
He added that Ma has been traveling to different countries to learn about agricultural technology, but did not address why it had disappeared from public view in recent years.
Once the richest man in China, Ma relinquished control of fintech giant Ant Group in January this year.
Some commentators saw it as further evidence that he had become angry with the Chinese Communist Party for becoming outspoken and too powerful.
In October 2020, Ma told a financial conference that traditional banks had a “pawnshop mentality.”
The following month, Chinese authorities at the last minute canceled Ant’s planned £26bn IPO, which would have been the world’s largest, citing “significant issues” over the company’s regulation.
Since then, sightings of him have been reported in several countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, Thailand, and Australia.
Last November, the Financial Times newspaper reported that Ma had been living in Tokyo, Japan for six months.
When Ma first stopped making public appearances, it was rumored that he had been placed under house arrest or otherwise detained.