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The founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, has returned to China, Reuters reports, citing the South China Morning Post.

This brought an end to the billionaire's stay abroad, which lasted more than a year.

Ma is one of China's most famous entrepreneurs.

He left the mainland at the end of 2021 and has since been spotted filming in Japan, Australia and Thailand.

Once one of the country's most outspoken businessmen, he retreated from the limelight in late 2020 after criticizing China's regulatory system, accused of wide-ranging regulatory crackdowns.

Although Chinese authorities have assured in recent months that they have ended the pressure and will look for ways to support the private sector, Chinese entrepreneurs have said that Ma's decision to stay abroad is a factor that hampers confidence.

Alibaba shares in Hong Kong rose more than 4% after the publication in the South China Morning Post.

While it did not say when Jack Ma returned to China, the newspaper reported that he visited a school he founded in the city of Hangzhou, which is home to Alibaba and finance company Ant Group.

It is noted that the billionaire has returned to China after a short stay in Hong Kong.

Yunmu Education School today confirmed that Ma visited its premises and released photos and a video of the Alibaba founder's visit.

Ma recently relinquished control of Ant Group, China's giant in the field of computerized banking and financial services.

Ali Baba