It is still unclear where Ma is, his emergence in a public forum may help quell persistent rumours about his fate while Beijing pursues investigations into online finance titan Ant group and Alibaba group. He had kept out of public view since early November, when Chinese regulators attacked Ant’s $35 billion IPO, tightened fintech regulations, then ordered an overhaul of Ant and launched a separate antitrust probe into Alibaba -- all in a span of days.
“Recently, my colleagues and I have been studying and thinking. We made a firmer resolution to devote ourselves to education philanthropy,” Ma said in the video. “Working hard for rural revitalization and common prosperity is the responsibility for our generation of businessmen.”
China state affiliated media tweeted: "Ma, who used to be an English teacher and founder of Alibaba also gives wishes to village teachers via a video on Wednesday, saying usually the activity is held in Sanya in southern Hainan but this year, due to Covid19 it has to be done via video conference”.
Ma’s standing with Beijing remains unclear. As of early December, the man most closely identified with the meteoric rise of China Inc. was advised by the government to stay in the country, a person familiar with the matter has said. Debate about his whereabouts arose because Beijing has in the past quietly detained billionaires that have run afoul of the law, without immediate trial.