Tech billionaire Jack Ma is stepping down as leader of the elite university he founded. Business newspaper Financial Times reports this.
Previously, the Chinese authorities would have forced Hupan University to stop new enrollments. Ma, the co-founder of tech group Alibaba, had not appeared in public since October when he openly criticized Chinese regulators and state banks.
Ma took the lead in 2015 when a group of industrial and technology companies decided to found Hupan. The highly exclusive university was founded in Hangzhou, Ma’s hometown. The academy aims to teach a select group of people entrepreneurship, business management, and corporate culture every year.
Beijing is troubling that students are working towards top entrepreneurship with a common goal set by Ma rather than the Communist Party. Hupan’s curriculum is reportedly being adjusted, and the university will be given a new name.
It is not the first time that Beijing has set its sights on Ma. Last November, policymakers in Beijing torpedoed at the last minute the multi-billion dollar exchange of Ma’s payments company Ant Group. A competition investigation into Alibaba followed a month later.
The Chinese government decided to take tougher action against large corporations that have a lot of power and until recently had to adhere to few rules.