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Alibaba founder Jack Ma visiting Dutch research institutes to gain interest in agricultural technology: Report

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The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post (SCMP) quoted people familiar with his visit as saying that Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma is visiting Dutch research institutions to pursue his interest in agricultural 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 immediately came under heavy scrutiny from regulators and his fintech affiliate Ant Group’s $37 billion (about Rs 2,77,400 crore) blockbuster IPO was suspended.

Ma, once China’s most famous and outspoken entrepreneur, reappeared in October in Hong Kong, where he met at least “some” business associates over food, two sources told Reuters.

He then flew to the Spanish island of Mallorca, where his luxury yacht is anchored, his first overseas trip since falling out with Chinese regulators, two Spanish newspapers reported last week.

Alibaba-owned SCMP published three photographs of Ma, which were obtained as handouts and dated October 25.

In two of them he was seen wearing a white protective gown and holding pots of flowers, while in the third he was wearing jeans and a hoodie and the caption said he was analyzing technology by aluminum extrusion specialist BOAL Systems. Were.

The SCMP reported that the billionaire, who retired as chairman of Alibaba in 2019, will continue to visit European companies and research institutions involved in agricultural infrastructure and plant breeding, according to people familiar with his plans.

People told SCMP that Ma believed Alibaba’s technology researched with cloud computing, big data analysis and artificial intelligence could help modernize Chinese agriculture.

On September 1, pictures of Ma visiting a greenhouse in eastern Zhejiang province, where both Alibaba and Ant live, went viral on Chinese social media.

The next day, Alibaba said it would invest CNY 100 billion (about Rs 1,17,440 crore) in support of “common prosperity”, becoming the latest corporate giant to lend support to a wealth-sharing initiative spearheaded by President Xi Jinping. .

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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