Jack Ma started as a school teacher and built China’s Amazon. But three years after Beijing cracked down on its tech companies, Ma is now turning to agriculture.

Jack Ma is running down a road next to a white car while wearing a blue T-shirt and smiling.

Jack Ma started as a school teacher and built Alibaba. But three years after Beijing cracked down on its tech companies, Ma has turned to agriculture.Zhang Yazi/China News Service/Getty Images

  • Jack Ma, a co-founder of Alibaba, has invested in a new agritech company in China.

  • Ma has largely disappeared from the public eye since angering Beijing with a critical speech in October 2020.

  • During his disappearance, Ma traveled the world studying agro-technology.

Jack Ma, a co-founder of Alibaba, is leading an active retirement.

After landing teaching in Hong Kong and Tokyothat 58 years old recently invested in a new agricultural technology company, according to a Monday report from South China Morning Postciting information from Tianyancha, a company information data provider.

Agrotech start-up 1.8 Meters Marine Technology (Zhejiang) Co was incorporated on July 20 in Hangzhou – the city also home to Alibaba, China’s answer to Amazon. One of Ma’s investment holding companies, Hangzhou Dajingtou No. 22 Arts and Culture Co., has a 10% stake in the startup, according to SCMP.

This new venture comes nearly three years since Ma disappeared from public view. He angered the Chinese authorities following a speech in October 2020 in which he criticized China’s financial regulatory system and accused Chinese banks of operating with a “pawnshop” mentality. His words asked for intense regulatory scrutiny of his businesses and a wider suppression of technology companies in China.

During his year-long disappearance, Ma appeared to be traveling the world while studying agro-technology.

In October 2021, Ma was in Spain learning about agriculture and technology related to environmental issues SCMP reported at the time, citing an unnamed source familiar with Ma’s schedule. He has also traveled to Netherlands, Japanand Thailand to study agrotech, per SCMP.

In May this year, Tokyo College announced that Ma wanted to take up a teaching position and at the same time research sustainable agriculture and food production.

Ma retired from Alibaba in 2019 and serves on the board of the Jack Ma Foundation. The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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