Renowned as a pivotal figure in China’s tech landscape, Jack Ma, the co-founder of Alibaba, seems to be venturing into the food industry, as indicated by recent company filings.
Reports reveal that on Wednesday (22 Nov), Ma incorporated a new company named “Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food” in the city where Alibaba is headquartered. Hangzhou, also Ma’s hometown, became the base for this new endeavor.
According to the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, the registered capital of the company stands at 10 million Chinese yuan (approximately $1.4 million). Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food is under Ma’s investment vehicle, Hangzhou Dajingtou. The company reportedly focuses on the sales of pre-packaged food, processing, and retail of agricultural products.
This shift towards agriculture comes amid the government’s intensified scrutiny of Ma’s businesses, which commenced in 2020 following Ma’s criticism of China’s financial-regulatory system.
Ma, recognised for his outspoken nature, retreated from the public eye for two years amidst this crackdown. His personal wealth witnessed a decline, and his companies suffered substantial financial setbacks. Since then, he has maintained a relatively low profile and has been notably absent from public engagements.
During this period, Ma has turned his attention toward the agricultural sector. Reports suggest he has been globetrotting, studying agrotech and exploring various countries for insights.
In October 2021, he was reported to be in Spain, delving into agricultural technology and environmental concerns. His travels have also taken him to the Netherlands, Japan, and Thailand, all centered around studying agrotech.
Ma’s engagement with the agricultural domain continued in May when he was associated with Tokyo College, where he took on a teaching role while focusing on sustainable agriculture and food production.
Earlier this year, he was noted dining with Supakit Chearavanont, chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group, a significant animal feed producer, during a visit to Thailand.
Having retired from Alibaba in 2019, Ma’s latest foray into the food industry through “Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food” stands as a notable shift in his business pursuits. As of now, the Jack Ma Foundation has not responded to queries regarding this development.