Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA), returned to China to visit a school he founded in Hangzhou city, the South China Morning Post reported. Ma, one of China’s most popular entrepreneurs, visited China after more than a year of overseas travel at a time when the country is trying to revive growth following the easing of a prolonged crackdown on the tech sector and gain the trust of business leaders.
Ma met teachers and students at Yungu School in Hangzhou, a city where Alibaba and fintech Ant Group are headquartered, to speak on various topics, including ChatGPT technology. Ma retired as Alibaba’s chairman on his 55th birthday in 2019. He has been traveling to different countries to learn about agricultural technology.
Ma was once a high-profile figure in China, enjoying significant media attention. However, a speech that he gave in October 2020, days before the initial public offering of Ant Financial, backfired miserably. Ma had criticized China’s financial regulators and banks. The speech led to President Xi Jinping forcing the cancellation of Ant’s listing and triggering a crackdown on China’s largest technology companies. Since then, Ma has maintained a low profile and increasingly spent his time outside China.
Earlier this year, the Ant Group announced that Ma would give up control of Ant, reducing his voting rights to just 6.2%. A change in control might help the company go ahead with a listing in Hong Kong or Shanghai.
China, which has been hit significantly by stringent COVID restrictions, is trying to boost business and win back the confidence of entrepreneurs. However, the recent disappearance of the founder of China Renaissance, Bao Fan, has raised questions about the government’s intentions. Fan was considered a star banker for tech deals.
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Wall Street is very bullish on Alibaba stock, with a Strong Buy consensus rating based on 14 unanimous Buys. The average price target of $146.23 suggests 68.3% upside potential.