Jack Ma tours Dutch university to learn sustainable agriculture as Alibaba founder keeps low profile
- The retired tech billionaire travelled to Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands to study sustainable livestock farming and fisheries
- Ma, formerly one of the most outspoken Chinese entrepreneurs, has largely refrained from speaking publicly since Ant Group’s botched IPO in 2020
The 57-year-old retired tech billionaire on July 2 travelled to Wageningen University & Research (WUR), a public university in the Netherlands known for its agricultural studies, and visited a hi-tech greenhouse on campus as well as the Netherlands Plant Eco-phenotyping Centre, according to a statement on the university’s website.
Ma, who created a foundation under his namesake to pursue philanthropic activities, wanted to gain insights into sustainable livestock farming and fisheries, to “fully devote his time and efforts to agriculture and food sustainability, including in the Gobi desert”, WUR said.
The university also said that Ma expressed interest in making agriculture more attractive to young talent, and wished to make another visit in the future to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ma, formerly one of the most outspoken Chinese entrepreneurs, has kept a low profile since a controversial speech in Shanghai in October 2020, days before the mega initial public offering of Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech affiliate, was called off at the last minute.
Since then, Ma has largely refrained from speaking publicly.
Ma was inspired by what he saw in the continent and believed that a combination of the technology with Alibaba’s cloud computing, big data analysis and artificial intelligence would create tremendous potential for the modernisation of agriculture in China, the Post reported at that time, citing people familiar with the matter.