Jack Ma, the cofounder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now in Hong Kong to meet friends and finance executives, the Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET) reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources.
Ma has been staying out of the limelight since the abrupt halt to the $35 billion initial public offering of his fintech company Ant Group in late 2020, but lately he’s been seen traveling around the world. Though his exact schedule in Hong Kong isn’t immediately known, the trip to the Asian financial hub comes at a time when China is signaling that its regulatory crackdown on internet companies is finally drawing to a close. Just two weeks ago, Ant Group announced it had received approval for its $1.5 billion fundraising plan, although it was also revealed that Ma will be ceding control of the company he cofounded alongside Alibaba decades ago.
An Alibaba spokesperson referred emailed requests seeking comment on Ma’s schedule to his charity, the Jack Ma Foundation, which didn’t respond immediately.
Shares of the e-commerce titan jumped more than 3% in Hong Kong on Friday, bringing this year’s rally to 30%. The 58-year-old, who now has a net worth of $25.8 billion, is $3.4 billion richer since the start of 2023, although his wealth is still down almost 50% from 2021’s level.
The HKET report speculated that Ma could be celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday in the city. He had recently spent time in Thailand, where the billionaire was spotted at Jay Fai, the Michelin-starred Bangkok street food restaurant, and later attending a boxing match at the city’s Rajadamnern Stadium.
Previously, Ma reportedly lived in Tokyo for almost half a year, when Beijing’s crackdown on the internet sector was still showing no signs of abating. During his time away from China, the mogul had also travelled to Europe, where his superyacht Zen was seen off the coast of Spain’s Mallorca island last June. The following month, the billionaire was seen in the Netherlands, visiting the Wageningen University & Research to learn about sustainable agriculture, an area that he had expressed interest in since stepping down from the helm of Alibaba in 2019.