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The return of Jack Ma. His new business: pre-cooked foods...

The Chinese tycoon invests 1.3 million euros in a pre-packaged food start-up

After a few years of relative oblivion, Chinese tycoon Jack Ma is back on the crest of the wave and turns to food. After showing considerable interest in the agricultural business, Ma started a start-up, simply called "Ma's Kitchen". No particular claims on quality - this is the production of pre-packaged foods - but considerable investments are at stake: the starting capital is equal to 10 million yuan, or 1.3 million euros.

But he founded Alibaba in 1999, abandoning the presidency after exactly twenty years, in 2019. Shortly afterwards he got into trouble with the authorities for criticizing Chinese financial regulators and banks. Since then, the entrepreneur has kept a relatively low profile, while remaining a shareholder in Alibaba.

The start-up was legally incorporated last Wednesday in Hangzhou, Ma's hometown and Alibaba's registered office. According to Chinese sources, the business will focus on the production of pre-cooked foods but also on the import-export of "edible agricultural products". According to Qichacha, a business data provider in China, the enterprise is wholly owned by a company called Hangzhou Dajingtou No. 22 Arts and Culture, of which Jack Ma holds 99.9% ownership. For the rest, there is still a lot of secrecy about the details of the initiative.

However, the Alibaba founder's intention to invest in a constantly growing business in China and beyond is clear. According to Euromonitor International, last year the Chinese pre-packaged food market was worth around 71.1 billion yuan (approximately 9.3 billion euros): a figure up by around 28% compared to 2018. the pandemic has evidently been on the rise, with the related need to consume convenient and quick-to-prepare products at home.

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EFA News - European Food Agency