Alibaba’s Jack Ma in Tokyo now in the role of visiting college professor

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Jack Ma, a cofounder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, will be a visiting professor at Tokyo College, a research institute run by the prestigious University of Tokyo, the university said Monday.

Ma will carry out research in sustainable agriculture and food production, it said in a statement.

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It said that Ma, who also heads his own Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic organization, will “share his rich experience and pioneering knowledge on entrepreneurship, corporate management and innovation,” with students and faculty.

Chinese regulators singled out Alibaba for scrutiny in a recent crackdown on technology and internet companies, having put the brakes on a planned initial public offering in 2020 of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Group.

That came after he had criticized China’s regulators and financial systems in a speech in Shanghai. Ma kept a low profile for several years and traveled overseas before returning to China recently.

His appointment began Monday and runs through the end of October, the university said.

Tokyo College, founded in 2019, connects the University of Tokyo with researchers and institutions abroad, including Collège de France.

Its research focuses on themes such as the digital revolution, Japan viewed from within and outside, the humanities in 2050, and the value of life.

Ma founded e-commerce firm Alibaba in the 1990s and was once China’s richest man.

He is well known in Japan as a friend of Masayoshi Son, the founder and chief executive of SoftBank Group Corp.

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