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Alibaba Surges as Ma Makes First Trip Abroad After China Crackdown

Alibaba ADRs (NYSE:BABA) looked like extending their recent gains Wednesday on reports that founder Jack Ma had made his first trip abroad after a year of being out of public view.

The reports were taken as a sign that Ma's problems with regulators - which had been behind a sharp drop in Alibaba's shares in recent months - had improved.

The ADRs had closed 6.1% higher Tuesday and traded with 2.2% gains in today’s premarket session.

Hong Kong-based publication East Week reported Tuesday that Ma had traveled to Spain over the weekend with his billionaire friends and business partners for a vacation.

According to Alibaba-owned The South China Morning Post, Ma is there for an agriculture and technology study tour.

The billionaire seemed to have disappeared last October soon after making statements that appeared to criticize the Chinese regulators. His whereabouts have been the subject of much discussion ever since.

Ma’s fintech giant Ant Group had to call off its initial public offering just a day before it was to open, an outcome that many attributed to pressure from the authorities in the wake of his comments.

There was some news at the operational end too, propping up the shares.

On Tuesday, the company launched a new chip designed for Cloud servers. The company plans to keep the chips for its own use only.

The e-commerce giant also plans to open new data centers in South Korea and Thailand next year to expand its Cloud business.

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