Jack Ma , the founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding , has made a rare public appearance on Monday at the company’s Hangzhou campus on AliDay, the annual gathering of the company’s family members. Ma, who retired as Alibaba’s chairman on his 55th birthday in September 2019, did not give a speech during the event. An unattributed photograph on NetEase.com’s news application showed him clad in a blue T-shirt, surrounded by staff. Alibaba’s spokespeople did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The entrepreneur, who said he spent 40 per cent of the year travelling all around the world while he was the titular head of the world’s largest e-commerce platform operator, has reduced his public appearances since a controversial speech in Shanghai last October , days before Ant Group’s initial public offering was called off. AliDay, which takes place every year on May 10, was established to commemorate China’s struggle to overcome the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome, or Sars, when the entire staff had to work from home because one employee had contracted the disease. The annual commemoration began in 2005, followed by group weddings for employees every year starting in 2006. Ma delivered a video-recorded speech on January 20 to mark his philanthropic foundation’s the annual Rural Teacher Initiative event. In April, a video clip showed Ma attending a meeting of the Russian Geographical society, chaired by Russian president Vladimir Putin . The entrepreneur is on the society’s board of trustees, which also included the Swedish billionaire Frederik Paulsen Jr and BP’s chief executive Bernhard Looney, besides Russian officials. Alibaba, which owns this newspaper, was the subject of several months of investigations by China’s antitrust regulator. The scrutiny culminated in a record 18.2 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) on April 10 by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for abusing its dominant market position. The company “abused its dominant market position in China’s online retail platform service market since 2015 by forcing online merchants to open stores or take part in promotions on its platforms,” compelling the market to “pick one from two” in a breach of the country’s anti-monopoly law, the regulator said. Investigations into Alibaba’s business practices began last Christmas Eve. Ma, 56, was also seen in several short videos last month on Douyin, the Chinese version of ByteDance’s TikTok service. In the videos, Ma could be seen sitting at a bar with a mug of beer with a group of unidentified men. The person who uploaded the video clips didn’t respond to requests for comment.