About three years after disappearing from public view, former Alibaba chairman Jack Ma recently turned to farm tech by investing in a fishery and agriculture startup in China, according to the South China Morning Post.
The startup called 1.8 Meters Marine Technology (Zhejiang) Co is based in China's Hangzhou city and has a registered capital of 110 million yuan (approx. Rs 127 crore), said the report citing corporate registry data provider Tianyancha. It also covers processing and sales of farm products besides developing offshore wind power systems.
One of Ma's investment holdings firms, Hangzhou Dajingtou No. 22 Arts and Culture Co., has a 10 per cent equity stake in the startup, reported SCMP.
However, Ma's new venture is a not a complete surprise. He has been travelling across the world to research about sustainable food production in the past few years. He was also a visiting professor at Tokyo College, where he taught sustainable agriculture and food production. According to SCMP, he closely studied fisheries and tuna farming in Japan and visited a sea shrimp farming factory in Thailand in January. In July 2022, he toured a university in the Netherlands to learn about sustainable agriculture. In October 2021
Jack Ma's fall
Once the richest man in China, Ma has kept a low profile since criticising financial regulators in an October 2020 speech, wherein he said traditional Chinese banks have a “pawnshop” mentality. This led to rigorous scrutiny of his ventures, with Chinese authorities canceling a planned Rs 2.74 lakh crore stock market flotation of fintech giant Ant Group, which he co-founded but no longer controls. He was eventually forced to give up control of Ant in January.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index projections released in July, Ma’s fortune is estimated to be worth less than half of what it was just three years ago. His wealth has come down by $4.1 billion over the past year after the valuation of Ant Group fell.