Jack Ma, founder of ecommerce giant Alibaba, has joined Tel Aviv University as visiting professor.
Ma is a business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is one of China’s richest people, with a net worth of $23.6 billion. He founded Alibaba in 1999, which has since become one of the world’s largest ecommerce businesses.
The university said that Ma will contribute to its research efforts on sustainable agriculture and food.
TAU President Ariel Porat said the appointment is “a testament to the importance of collaboration between academia and industry, and we look forward to learning from Ma’s insights and experience.”
Since receiving an honorary degree from the university five years ago, the business magnate has visited Israel several times.
“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. I think you shouldn’t read about Israel, you should come here, feel Israel, touch Israel,” he said in 2018.
Ma has recently also joined the University of Tokyo as visiting professor. The billionaire has fallen out of favor with the Chinese authorities in recent years after criticizing China’s banks and financial system for being hostile to small businesses and cracking down on the tech industry.