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27 Oct 2021
Billionaire Alibaba founder Jack Ma to Invest in Agriculture Tech
The Index Today
Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma has been seen touring the Dutch research institutions to pursue his interests in agriculture technology.
The Chinese billionaire has largely been out of public view since he publicly criticized China's regulatory system in a speech last year. His empire promptly came under heavy scrutiny from regulators and the $37 billion blockbuster IPO of his fintech affiliate Ant Group was suspended, according to the Reuters report.
Ma, once China's most famous and outspoken entrepreneur, reappeared in Hong Kong in October, where he met at least "a few" business associates over meals, two sources told Reuters.
He then flew to the Spanish island of Mallorca, where his luxury yacht is anchored, his first trip abroad since he fell out with Chinese regulators, two Spanish newspapers reported last week.
SCMP, owned by Alibaba, published three photos of Ma, sourced as handouts and dated Oct. 25.
The billionaire, who retired as Alibaba's chairman in 2019, will continue touring European companies and research institutions involved in agricultural infrastructure and plant breeding, according to people familiar with his plans, SCMP reported.
Ma believed combining the technology he researched with Alibaba’s cloud computing, big data analysis and artificial intelligence could help modernise Chinese agriculture, the people told SCMP.
On Sept. 1, photographs of Ma visiting greenhouses in eastern Zhejiang province, home to both Alibaba and Ant, went viral on Chinese social media.
The next day, Alibaba said it would invest 100 billion yuan ($15.5 billion) by 2025 in support of "common prosperity", becoming the latest corporate giant to pledge support for the wealth sharing initiative driven by President Xi Jinping.