Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma will come to Tel Aviv University (TAU) as a visiting professor.
He will focus on the school’s research efforts in sustainable agriculture and food, the university said in a statement.
“We are honored and delighted to welcome Mr. Jack Ma to Tel Aviv University,” said TAU President Ariel Porat. “His appointment is a testament to the importance of collaboration between academia and industry, and we look forward to learning from his insights and experience.”
Ma received an honorary doctorate at Tel Aviv University in 2018.
“We considered Israel among three countries in which to establish offices. We invested in five different companies here, and I am being accompanied by 40 senior managers. I believe we will continue to invest here,” said Ma when accepting his honorary doctorate.
“Arriving here was nothing like I expected,” said Ma at the time. “I was told it wasn’t safe here, that there were bombs and guns everywhere. But when I arrived I saw this place was so peaceful, and the economy is booming. I think you shouldn’t read about Israel, you should come here, feel Israel, touch Israel.”
Ma also joined Tokyo College, under the University of Tokyo, as a visiting professor on May 1, according to a statement on its website. There, too, his research will focus on “the field of sustainable agriculture and food production.”
Ma ran afoul of China’s financial regulators in 2020 when, in October of that year, at the Bund Summit in Shanghai he criticized China’s banks.
Shortly after, those banks halted his company Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO, which would have been the world’s largest. Ma ceded all voting power in the firm.
Ma largely disappeared from public view following the incident. Reports of his whereabouts periodically surfaced, placing him mainly in parts of Asia where he was said to be researching agriculture and fish farming.