Alibaba founder Jack Ma has made his first public appearance in China after spending several months abroad, potentially indicating that Beijing's crackdown on the technology sector may be easing. Ma visited a school in Hangzhou, where Alibaba is headquartered, to discuss education in the age of artificial intelligence. Ma acknowledged that technologies such as ChatGPT have presented challenges to education, but said AI could be used to solve problems. Ma's reappearance follows an intense crackdown on his empire, which began in 2020 after his financial technology firm, Ant Group, was forced to shelve its listing. Alibaba was later hit with a USD2.6bn antitrust fine. Experts suggest that Ma's return may signal recognition by Beijing of the need for private businesses to help revive the economy.
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