Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has joined the University of Tokyo’s Tokyo College as a professor. This is a return to the teaching profession that he left to start Alibaba.
Ma is anticipated to perform research on sustainable agriculture and food production in his new post, according to an announcement made by Tokyo College on Monday.
The former China’s richest man would also “share his rich experience and pioneering knowledge on entrepreneurship, corporate management, and innovation” in seminars at the university-run college.
Ma’s appointment as a visiting professor begins on May 1.
It is the 58-year-old’s first teaching position since leaving Alibaba in September 2019. Before co-founding Alibaba, the billionaire worked as an English instructor for several years.
Ma announced in May 2019 that he would return to teaching after leaving Alibaba in September.
Ma’s comeback to public life comes more than two years after he enraged Chinese officials with a speech in October 2020 in which he criticised China’s financial regulatory system and claimed Chinese banks operated with a “pawnshop” mindset.
A few days later, the $37 billion IPO of his fintech company, Ant Group, was cancelled.
The postponement of Ant’s IPO spurred a broader crackdown on the country’s digital giants.
This weighed on Alibaba’s stock price, which plunged more than 70% from its peak in 2020. According to reports, Ma’s fortune dropped from a high of $61 billion in October 2020 to an estimated $33 billion.
Ma, a former high-profile jet setter, has laid low, sparking intense suspicion about his whereabouts.
Ma has been in the spotlight since March, when he returned to the school he built in his hometown of Hangzhou, in east China. He was named an honorary professor at the University of Hong Kong in April.