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Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, Ventures into Pre-Packaged Food Industry After Departing from E-Commerce Giant to Focus on Agriculture

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Alibaba Group Holding co-founder Jack Ma has started a new enterprise that sells pre-packaged food, corporate data shows, in a sign that the billionaire is branching out into areas leveraging his post-retirement focus on the agricultural sector.

The company, whose name translates to “Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food” in English, was incorporated on Wednesday in Hangzhou, the hometown of Ma and his business empire, according to the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, an official business registry information platform.

With registered capital of 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million), it is wholly owned by Hangzhou Dajingtou No 22 Arts and Culture, another of the entrepreneur’s ventures set up in 2019 for investment deals in China, in which Ma has 99.9 per cent of stake.

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The scope of the company’s business extends to sales of pre-packaged food and the primary processing and retail of edible agricultural products, according to Ma’s Kitchen.

Jason Pau – executive director of international programmes at the Jack Ma Foundation, the billionaire’s philanthropic organisation established in 2014 – is listed as the company’s executive director and general manager. Xu Shi, another former executive at Ma’s foundation, is a supervisor for the new company, according to Chinese media reports, citing information from corporate registry data provider Tianyancha.

The Jack Ma Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Ma’s latest venture was interpreted by some to be a move into offering ready meals, an industry that has been booming in China as investors look to cash in on lifestyle changes during the pandemic. One Chinese media outlet said on Saturday that the company’s references to pre-packaged food do not refer to pre-cooked meals, citing a WeChat post of a former assistant to Ma.

The domestic ready-meals industry is expected to see sales of about 510 billion yuan this year, with the potential to double in the next three years, according to a report by iiMedia Research.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma (second from right) at the Oshima station of Kindai University’s Aquaculture Research Institute in northern Japan’s Hokkaido region. Photo: Handout

Ma, who stepped down as Alibaba chairman on his 55th birthday in 2019, has turned his attention to agriculture and education in recent years. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Ma’s Kitchen is just the latest of multiple new incorporated entities that are part of the entrepreneur’s bet on agriculture. In July, Ma was found to be behind a fishery and agricultural start-up called 1.8 Metres Marine Technology, which had 110 million yuan in registered capital. Its business scope includes aquatic products, feeding and food processing.

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On the same day, Ma’s family trust announced plans to sell US$870 million in Alibaba shares, sparking rumours about the billionaire’s confidence in the company and possible lay-offs, prompting rebuttals from the company and Ma’s office.
Jane Jiang, chief people officer at Alibaba, explained in an internal letter earlier this week that Ma intends to use the funds to support his agricultural technology and philanthropy initiatives, but he has not sold any Alibaba shares yet as the stock is “very much undervalued now”.

(The following story may or may not have been edited by NEUSCORP.COM and was generated automatically from a Syndicated Feed. NEUSCORP.COM also bears no responsibility or liability for the content.)

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