Founder of Alibaba Jack Ma is reportedly stepping down as the president of an elite business school he founded, suggesting a further retreat from public life by China’s most prominent entrepreneur in the face of government pressure on the tech industry.
Citing anonymous sources, the Financial Times reported Monday that Ma will no longer serve as the president of Hupan, which he created in 2015 with the vision of turning it into a “300-year enterprise” that would become a worldwide name for entrepreneurial education.
The newspaper also reported that Hupan would restructure its education program. The Hangzhou-based school had already dropped the word “university” from its name, following a government clampdown on institutions that are not licensed as universities but were claiming the status.
The Financial Times, citing a person close to the school, reported that Ma would not hold “any high level official title” at the organization after it was restructured. The newspaper added that several people said Ma wanted to remain connected to the school, though, and may give lectures there.
The report comes several months after Beijing began reining in the Chinese internet sector. Ma himself has been at the center of those efforts — regulators pulled a highly anticipated IPO for his company Ant Group, the financial affiliate of Alibaba (BABA), last year after he criticized the country’s financial regulators and state-controlled banks. Since then, Ant Group has been forced to overhaul its operations, and Alibaba and other tech firms have been investigated over concerns about monopolistic behavior and other consumer rights issues.
Ma subsequently dropped out of public view for several months, canceling appearances at scheduled events.
He’s not the only big tech executive to take a step back lately. ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming,38, announced last week that he would resign as CEOand transition to a new role at the company to “focus on long-term strategy.” And in March, Colin Huang, the 41-year-old founder of Pinduoduo (PDD) also known as Huang Zheng, said he would step down as chairman to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a scientist or researcher.
Source: CNN Business