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June 27, 2017

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Media exec becomes 1st Taiwan student at Alibaba founder's school for entrepreneurs

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- George Hsieh (謝國樑), chairman of Hualien Media International Co., Ltd. (華聯國際) and publisher of The China Post, recently became Taiwan's first student at an entrepreneurs' college founded by Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma.

Hsieh, who made a career change to head Hualien and The China Post after serving as a lawmaker for three consecutive terms, became in late March a member of the third intake of students at Hupan College (湖畔大學) in Hangzhou, China, which Ma created with seven other entrepreneurs and distinguished scholars to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Hsieh told the Central News Agency (CNA) in an interview that Hupan is a college designed not for high-ranking managers but for first-generation entrepreneurs and their successors.

In explaining his becoming the only Taiwanese student at Hupan so far, Hsieh said one reason could be that there were few applying from Taiwan to study at the college, which many might have thought was established exclusively to foster the next generation of mainland Chinese entrepreneurs.

"My good Chinese friend Wang Xiaofei (汪小菲), a member of the first intake of students at Hupan, played a certain role in this regard. He recommended me as a student candidate," Hsieh said.

Special Background

Hsieh's special background as a legislator-turned-entrepreneur in Taiwan also helped to have his application swiftly approved by the college.

"Hupan hopes to have students from Taiwan, and I happen to be engaged in both the political and business fields in Taiwan, and so I am able to help them better understand what's going on in Taiwan or offer them Taiwanese viewpoints on things," he told CNA.

"Ma not only told us about his experiences with successful ventures, but he also wants us to study cases where there were mistakes and failures," Hsieh said when speaking of the courses.

"Sense of mission, sense of value and vision were the three key points highlighted by Ma at the very beginning of the class," Hsieh said, adding that Ma interpreted the sense of mission as "having to clearly understand the exact purpose of the existence of your company and have all the staff march toward the direction associated with that purpose."

Hsieh has already been inspired by Ma's class.

"After the class, I reviewed the mission of my Hualien Group, and found that the most important aspect of Hualien is to produce the best Taiwanese-style films that can be screened in all the Chinese markets," Hsieh concluded.

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