Beijing authorities have pressured an elite business school backed by Alibaba Group Co Ltd founder Jack Ma to suspend enrollments, citing sources familiar with the situation.
The closure of the school, which Ma established in 2015 to train China’s next generation of entrepreneurs, comes as his business empire is scrutinized by the government. Hupan Academy in Hangzhou, where Alibaba’s headquarters are located, has canceled a first-year class scheduled to begin in late March.
The three-year programme costs 580,000 yuan ($88,500.98) in tuition. Executives from Keep, a profitable Chinese exercise company, and Horizon Robotics, a fast-growing domestic chip business, were among the students mentioned in the incoming class of 2019.
The school is one of Ma’s education-related projects, which he has devoted himself to after stepping down as Alibaba’s chairman in 2019.
The suspension of enrollments coincides with Beijing’s crackdown on Ma’s companies. Following pressure from the authorities, Ant Group, Alibaba’s financial affiliate, abruptly halted a proposed $37 billion IPO in Shanghai late last year. The botched listing occurred after Ma publicly chastised China’s financial regulators. But for a short 50-second video clip shown to a group of students, he hasn’t made a public appearance since.