Alibaba Shares Surge As Jack Ma Makes Public Appearance

Jack Ma is alive and well.

The Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) founder and chief executive officer has made his first public appearance in months as his technology empire continues to face scrutiny from Chinese regulators.

The billionaire co-founder of Alibaba has resurfaced in a video published by Chinese state media. He was shown speaking to teachers in rural China as part of a philanthropic event. The video was published online by Tianmu News, a subsidiary of the Zhejiang government's official newspaper. Zhejiang province is where Alibaba is based.

Ma had not made a public appearance or social media post since last October, just over a week before Alibaba's financial affiliate Ant Group was scheduled to list on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. The initial public offering (IPO) was blocked at the last minute by Chinese regulators, and Ma’s companies have since been targeted as part of an escalating crackdown on technology by Beijing.

Alibaba's Hong Kong-listed shares surged more than 9% after the video of Ma was published. The gains put the stock on pace for its best day since last July, helping to erase some of the losses that have piled up since Ant Group's IPO was canceled.

Alibaba is China's most influential technology company but has come under the scrutiny of Chinese regulators in recent months. Chinese authorities are investigating the company on antitrust grounds, while also pushing its sprawling financial affiliate, Ant Group, to overhaul its business.