Following reports that Founder Jack Ma has travelled to Europe and the release of a new chip, Alibaba’s Hong Kong shares rallied as high as 9 percent on Wednesday.
The rise in Alibaba’s shares followed Hong Kong-based East Week’s report that Jack Ma has visited Spain over the weekend to spend time with some of his billionaire friends and business partners on a sailing vacation. The report cited an unnamed source and said the source could not be mentioned due to reasons surrounding confidentiality. Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post later reported that the billionaire was in Spain for an agriculture and technology study tour related to environmental issues. Alibaba was, however, not available to answer requests for comments.
Founder and billionaire Jack Ma has been out of the public’s eye since last October after he made a speech that seemed to openly criticize Chinese regulators. Following this incident, his companies came under scrutiny from regulators. His fintech company Ant Group, had its initial public offering suspended as a result. Alibaba’s U.S-listed shares are down over 23 percent year-to-date.
Other technology companies have also been a part of the crackdown targeted at the sector. The technology sector (the cryptocurrency sector inclusive) has seen billions of dollars wiped off from the sector following the crackdown actions that have ensued.
Speaking about Jack Ma’s “reappearance”, Tariq Dennison, a wealth manager at Hong Kong-based wealth manager said that “there is no doubt in my mind that Jack Ma no longer being missing would have at least a 10% impact on Alibaba’s share price, as that has long been one of the uncertainties many investors have had about the stock”.
Apart from its founder’s re-emergence, Alibaba also had new news related to its cloud business. The company launched a new chip designed to boost the cloud computing capabilities of servers. Alibaba sees and treats its cloud business as a huge and core part of its future growth. Its cloud business currently accounts for 8 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Other announcements made by the company on Wednesday include that it was opening new data centres in Korea and Thailand next year as part of its plans to expand its cloud business.