FB Pixel no scriptIntroducing Jack Ma’s latest venture: Majia Kitchen | KrASIA

Introducing Jack Ma’s latest venture: Majia Kitchen

Written by KrASIA Connection Published on   5 mins read

Jack Ma’s latest venture, Majia Kitchen, hones in on the intersections of food and agriculture, with a particular emphasis on pre-packaged meals.

In the latest business registration update on November 22, Hangzhou Dajingtou 22nd Culture and Art, a company helmed by Jack Ma, who holds a 99.9% stake, unveiled a new subsidiary focusing on pre-packaged meals, agricultural product processing, and wholesale.

This new subsidiary is named Hangzhou Majia Kitchen Food (Majia Kitchen). Its legal representative is Pau Jason John, with a registered capital of RMB 10 million. The business scope includes food sales (only pre-packaged food), import and export of goods, wholesale of edible agricultural products, wholesale of daily necessities, hotel management, technical services, and more.

Notably, Xu Shi, the supervisor of Majia Kitchen, boasts a background that intertwines with Jack Ma’s ventures, having previously held a key position at the Jack Ma Charity Foundation and presently serving as an executive in Ma’s art management and consulting enterprises.

Image of Majia Kitchen’s registered business profile on the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.
Image of Majia Kitchen’s registered business profile on the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System. Image source: New Consumption Daily.

Pre-packaged meals have been a hot topic on the internet this year, sparking debates about their safety, taste, processing and preservation techniques. However, indisputably, pre-packaged meals have become an important research focus in the development of agricultural product processing and the food industry. China’s pre-packaged meal market reached a scale of RMB 419.6 billion (USD 59.12 billion) in 2022, and the market size is expected to exceed RMB 1 trillion (USD 140.91 billion) by 2026.

Jack Ma’s investments into food and agriculture

Ma’s plans for investing in and promoting industries related to agricultural products have been longstanding. In 2018, his attention shifted from the “Jack Ma Rural Teacher Program,” focused on rural education, to addressing the modernization of agriculture, including issues related to the production and sales of agricultural products. After officially “retiring” from Alibaba Group in 2019, Ma indicated that his future work would focus on education and agriculture.

The newly established Majia Kitchen is also not the first agriculture and food production-related company Ma has founded in recent years.

In September 2020, one year after his departure from Alibaba, Ma’s Hainan Yunfeng Enterprise Management Group invested in the establishment of Genghai Muyang Investment with a registered capital of up to RMB 200 million (USD 28.18 million). The company’s main business includes aquaculture, fishing, artificial breeding and release of natural aquatic fish resources, production of aquatic seedlings, import and export of aquatic seedlings, and food operations (sales of pre-packaged food), among other activities.

Subsequently, there were numerous reports of Ma visiting abroad to inspect agricultural and fishery sectors, confirming his interest in ocean fisheries and smart agriculture.

Reports indicated that Genghai Muyang plans to invest RMB 1.4 billion (USD 197.27 million) to build a smart fishery project in Danzhou, Hainan. The first phase of the project, with an investment of RMB 268 million (USD 37.76 million), is expected to officially start production in November 2023.

In November 2021, Hangzhou Yunqi Catering Management, under Ma’s umbrella, was established with a registered capital of RMB 1 million (USD 140,900). Zhang Maosong serves as the legal representative, and its main business includes catering management, food sales (limited to pre-packaged foods), retail and wholesale of edible agricultural products, and other operations.

Although Hangzhou Dajingtou 22 Cultural Art primarily deals in art, collectibles, and cultural products, it has progressively established three agricultural technology and food production-related subsidiaries and two fishery technology subsidiaries in 2023.

Apart from Majia Kitchen, Yimiba Food Technology and Yimiba Ocean Technology were also established during this summer as agricultural and food-related companies. However, these two companies are not wholly owned by Ma but are indirectly controlled through multiple subsidiaries.

Yimiba Food has a registered capital of RMB 50 million (USD 7.05 million), with Yu Ting serving as the legal representative. Its main business involves online food sales, food sales (limited to pre-packaged foods), sales of health foods (pre-packaged), agricultural R&D, supply chain management services, among others.

Yimiba Ocean has a registered capital of RMB 110 million (USD 15.49 million), with Zheng Zhonghua serving as the legal representative. The company focuses on the production, import, and export of aquatic seedlings, aquaculture, food production, food sales, food internet sales, and urban distribution and transportation services, among other operations.

In the field of aquaculture, Yimiba Ocean has also established research companies in Zhoushan and Wenzhou to carry out breeding and seedling-related operations. During an introduction of investment opportunities in the scallop industry by the Zhoushan municipal government in August this year, it was also mentioned that Yimiba Ocean had signed a framework cooperation agreement to upgrade the scallop industry chain.

The Yimiba series now houses five companies, with the orchestrator and primary shareholder being 1.8 Meters Technology Holding Limited, a Hong Kong-registered entity. The legal representatives and executives of various companies in this series hail from diverse fields within the Alibaba ecosystem.

From technology to pre-packaged meals?

In China’s 2023 national comprehensive rural revitalization plan, the term “cultivating and developing the pre-packaged meal industry” appeared for the first time, guiding large agricultural enterprises to delve into deep processing, enhancing standardization in fresh vegetables, and central kitchen operations.

Analyzing these companies’ core business, it’s evident that, beyond breeding technology and digitization, food sales and pre-packaged meals form a key operational axis for several of Ma’s agricultural and catering enterprises.

Before Majia Kitchen, not many companies have been engaged in the production and sale of pre-packaged meals. Hangzhou Yunqi Catering Management might be one such example, but its primary business involves offline restaurant stores, which are relatively small in scale.

The main market for pre-packaged meals in China is in serving B2B demands. While the growth in demand from consumers (C2C) is rapid, its volume remains relatively small.  Establishing large-scale pre-packaged meal production and research centers like “central kitchens,” focusing on cost advantages, coordinated raw material processing industries, and channel deployment, is a current investment focus in the market.

As of now, Majia Kitchen’s future business plans remain shrouded in mystery, withholding further details from the public gaze. However, speculation looms that it might synergize with various fisheries and aquaculture parks, intensifying its focus on food deep processing.

From the broader perspective of agricultural industry chain development, the deep processing model of pre-packaged meals emerges as a potent connector between production and consumption demands. It stands to uplift farmers’ income, propel the agricultural value chain towards the medium- and high-end, and foster new competitive advantages in the global agricultural arena.

Within Alibaba, several entities have long championed Ma’s and other top executives’ investments in the agricultural and rural sectors. Hema Fresh, spearheaded by Ma, has been a torchbearer, initiating projects like Hema Village that secure stable purchase orders for farmers. The Digital Rural Plan, employing livestreaming to open sales channels, has also helped slash supply chain costs.

However, with Ma’s recent establishment of independent companies outside the Alibaba system, his future development in agriculture has become a focal point of external attention.

Not much is yet known, although a recent statement from Ma’s office states that he has been raising funds for projects related to agricultural technology and public welfare both domestically and internationally in recent years.

Thus, it is expected that Ma’s investments within the agricultural technology and food processing domains will further expand in the near future.

This article was adapted based on a feature originally written by Liang Youyun and published on New Consumption Daily (WeChat ID: cls-xxfribao-01), an outlet under Cailian Press. KrASIA is authorized to translate, adapt, and publish its contents.


Auto loading next article...