The list of luminaries on China’s Tsinghua University business school are surprising list of American technocrats like Satya Nadella, Mark Zuckerberg, Elong Musk and now Tim Cook as Chairman from Apple. The university which is referred to as China’s Harvard has a gloried history and serves as nation’s top political and economic thought institution. This is one of the nation’s most elitist institutions attended by current president Xi Jinping. Cook chaired the annual meeting last week of the School of Economics and Management.
The appointment was hailed by former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji who is also the board founder in a letter hoping that the board will now become better than ever. While Zuckerberg, Musk and Nadella were listed as members of the board during recent school year along with leaders from other American organizations like Walmart, IBM and General Motors. The institution’s previous chairmen were Jim Breyar an American venture capitalist followed by former Goldman Sachs CEO, Henry Paulson and former Walmart CEO, Lee Scott.
The institution also has some local luminaries like Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator who was a board member last year followed by tech billionaires Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Pony Ma and Robin Li. The first board meeting of Cook was also his first meeting with Jack Ma, who is one of China’s most prominent businessmen. But China’s relationship with some nations like United States has become tense in recent years due to trade war. While Cook was on the Tsinghua board since 2013 his recent elevation comes at a sensitive time. Controversy of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong followed by trade war and other global issues have complicated terms between two superpowers of the world. It is up to American businessmen with operations in China to maintain a delicate balance and navigate through these troubled waters without putting their interests to risk.