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Jack Ma Returns to China as a Positive Signal for Private-held Business in China

According to media reports, some netizens witnessed Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, in the Wenyi Road tunnel in Hangzhou. In the video, Ma rides a Toyota Coaster, occasionally talking with people around and in front.

According to the report, on March 27th, Ma also paid a visit to Hangzhou Yungu Primary School, a private school invested and established by Alibaba partners in 2017.

In the meeting with Hangzhou Yungu School, he said that technologies such as ChatGPT have brought challenges to education. Still, technologies such as ChatGPT are only the beginning of the AI era. We need to use artificial intelligence to solve problems instead of being controlled by artificial intelligence. Although human physical and mental strength is inferior to machines, machines only have a "core", while humans have a "heart".

The news of Jack Ma returning to China has gone viral in seconds on Weibo (China's version of Twitter). What also went viral with the online news is the rumor about the privately-held business owners in mainland China.

However, in October 2020, the founder of Alibaba criticized regulators in Shanghai for angering Beijing, was deeply involved in a regulatory storm, and occasionally appeared since Ant Financial’s listing failed.

In 2022, according to incomplete statistics, Jack Ma only appeared in public 7 times, of which only 3 times appeared in China, and the rest appeared in Spain, the Netherlands and Slovenia, etc., accompanied by private luxury yachts, playing golf and researching agriculture...

At the end of last year, Jack Ma was revealed to have settled in Tokyo, Japan, for half a year.

Entering 2023, Ma's whereabouts are mostly overseas.

In January, Jack Ma and Thailand’s richest man Xie Guomin met successively in Thailand and Hong Kong, China, and took photos with food stall owners on the streets of Thailand; in February, Jack Ma appeared in Australia and took a photo with the Morley family who had been in contact for 43 years; in March, Jack Ma appeared on a private island in Fiji, wearing shorts and cloth shoes, and staying in the ceiling Laucala.

Jack Ma, who has kept a low profile for a long time, suddenly became high-profile and appeared in mainland China as if he wanted to break the previous silence and retreat.

At the same time, Beijing seems to intentionally spread the news that China is re-entering into the "good old time of welcoming the private-held enterprises and overseas investment".

According to news from the Ministry of Commerce on the afternoon of the 27th, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao met with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc. The two sides exchanged views on issues such as Apple's development in China and stabilizing the industrial and supply chains. This is Cook's first visit to China after more than three years. Some analysts pointed out that Cook's visit to China released a positive signal to stabilize foreign investment.

Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao Meets with Apple CEO Tim Cook

In contrast, China's industrial economic data fell sharply in the first two months. According to the statistics of the National Bureau of Statistics, from January to February, the total profit of industrial enterprises above designated size nationwide was 887.21 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 22.9%. State-owned holding companies realized a total profit of 344.91 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 17.5%; joint-stock enterprises realized a total profit of 671.90 billion yuan, a decrease of 19.4%; The total amount was 255.93 billion yuan, a decrease of 19.9%. Among the 41 major industrial sectors, 28 industries declined. Notably, the decline in the automobile manufacturing industry was as high as 41.7%, and the decline in the computer, communication, and other electronic equipment manufacturing industry was as high as 77.1%.

As a benchmark for Chinese private entrepreneurs, Jack Ma's choice to return to China under such circumstances can also be indirectly understood as a sign that the Chinese authorities are easing conflicts and re-releasing the signal of opening up.


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