Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has resigned as the head of a prestigious business group in his hometown, as the Chinese tycoon continues to disappear from public view and enjoy his post-retirement tour around the world. 

According to a Nikkei Asia report on December 8, Jack Ma has relinquished his position as president of the General Association of Zhejiang Entrepreneurs, which he has held since 2015.

Nan Cunhui, chairman of the electrical parts maker Chint Group, will be his successor. Meanwhile, Ma will take a new role as the group’s adviser.

The association is a nonprofit organization and China’s most renowned networking guild for company founders. It’s a place where local entrepreneurs meet and build connections across the nation and worldwide.

Nikkei noted that Ma was once the richest and most influential tech leader in China. Over the last few years, he has shunned the limelight after resigning as chair of Alibaba in September 2019. 

In addition, the tech mogul has retreated from the public eye since openly criticizing Chinese state regulators for stifling the country’s innovation.

Ma’s speech led the CCP to suspend a blockbuster $37 billion IPO of Ant Group. Moreover, the communist regime also demanded an entire overhaul of the fintech group which still has not yet ended.  

Financial Times, citing sources, reported that the Zhejiang association had long wanted to replace Ma since Ant Group’s conflicts with the CCP. The business group has come under heavy scrutiny by local authority to the point of becoming an “arm of the government”.

A post on the Zhejiang Entrepreneur’s WeChat social media account revealed that Qiu Qiwen, a top Communist party regulator in the province, was invited as a headline speaker at the annual year-end party of the association on December 7.

Qiu lectured the guests at the party that the Zhejiang business group must “completely implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important exposition on the development of the private economy.”

He added, “You must strengthen your political understanding and lead the broad masses of Zhejiang entrepreneurs to follow the party.”

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