Jack Ma leaves elite business school, report says
The Financial Times, quoting a person close to the school, reported that Ma would hold “no high-level official titles” within the organization after its restructuring. The newspaper added that several people said Ma wanted to stay in touch with the school and could give lectures there.
Hupan and Ma’s personal foundation did not respond to requests for comments from CNN Business.
Ma then abandoned public view for several months, canceling appearances at scheduled events.
Ma took the name Hupan, meaning “by the lake”, from the apartment he lived in when he co-founded Alibaba in 1999. Lakeside Gardens is where Alibaba’s first 18 employees worked together at the start of the business. Ma compared this experience to the Western practice of running a small business in a garage.
“Every business has its own ‘garage’ culture,” Ma told the students. during a 2016 ceremony at the school. “That’s why we named it Hupan University, to remember every entrepreneur.”
School was also famous: each candidate had to have more than three years of experience in running a business with a minimum annual income of 30 million yuan ($ 4.7 million) and 30 employees. Even qualified candidates had to go through strict interviews. Its admission rate is 2.2%, which makes it more difficult to access than at Harvard and Stanford.
Among the alumni are many notable Chinese entrepreneurs, such as Didi Chuxing Chairman Jean Liu (or Liu Qing), Li Auto founder Li Xiang, and Uxin Group founder Dai Kun.
Some online commentators have likened Hupan to the Donglin Academy, which is said to have cultivated like-minded academics and officials in the 17th century, who then formed a famous and powerful political faction – Donglin. Such thinkers accumulated influence, leading to years of intense factional battles for power within the empire, and it is believed that the fighting ultimately led to the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.
The Financial Times reported, citing a person close to the school, that authorities feared Ma was building a network that “may be at odds with the [ruling Chinese] The objectives of the Communist Party. “