Jack Ma has an investment in fishery and agriculture start-up in hometown of Hangzhou, corporate data shows
- The start-up’s controlling shareholder is Hong Kong-based 1.8 Meters Technology Holding Ltd, which holds 80 per cent, according to Tianyancha
- Ma has made several international trips to learn about sustainable food production in the past few years
Jack Ma is behind a newly-established fishery and agriculture start-up in China, as the founder and former chairman of Alibaba Group Holding increases his focus on the sector after life at the e-commerce giant.
A start-up called “1.8 Meters Marine Technology (Zhejiang) Co” was newly incorporated in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, on July 20 with a registered capital of 110 million yuan (US$15 million), according to corporate registry data provider Tianyancha. The venture’s business scope covers aquatic products, feeding and processing.
The start-up’s controlling shareholder is Hong Kong-based 1.8 Meters Technology Holding Ltd, which holds 80 per cent, and its second-largest shareholder is Hangzhou Dajingtou No. 22 Arts and Culture Co Ltd, one of the ventures created by billionaire Ma in 2019 for investment deals in China, with a 10 per cent equity stake.
Simon Hu, the former chief executive of Ant Group, also owns a 5.5 per cent stake in the start-up, according to the Tianyancha data.
Ma’s foundation did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the matter on Monday.
The new venture, which also covers processing, wholesale and retail sales of agriculture products as well as development of offshore wind power systems, fits Ma’s keen interest in the agriculture and food sector following his retirement from Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.
Ma stepped down as Alibaba chairman in 2019 and no longer holds any corporate roles at the company.
In his earlier trip in Japan, he spent time studying fisheries and tuna farming. In a trip to Thailand Ma visited a sea shrimp farming factory, the Post reported in January.
In July 2022, he visited a university in the Netherlands to learn how to improve sustainable food production, following a similar European tour the year before to further his interest in agriculture.
Alibaba, which is in the middle of its biggest-ever corporate restructuring, has also invested in agriculture-related technology.
And DAMO Academy, Alibaba’s research institute, has launched an initiative in the field of “smart breeding”, and is hiring life scientists to help it develop China’s seed industry, according to job postings published earlier this month.
Founders of other Big Tech companies in China have also shown an interest in the agricultural sector after stepping down from day-to-day operations at their companies.
Colin Huang Zheng, founder of discount e-commerce empire Pinduoduo, donated US$100 million to Zhejiang University to support basic research in biomedical science, agriculture and food, after stepping down as chairman of the company in 2021.