Alibaba Founder Starts a Food Company in China

Nov. 27, 2023
China’s most famous tech billionaire Jack Ma last week began ‘Ma’s Kitchen.’

Twenty-four years after founding China’s equivalent of, Jack Ma is investing in a new venture in that country: a packaged foods business that translates to “Hangzhou Ma’s Kitchen Food.”

China’s most famous tech billionaire incorporated the firm in Hangzhou, Ma’s hometown in eastern China, which also is headquarters for Alibaba, the huge ecommerce and tech firm he started, according to several media reports.

It’s a modest investment at this point, just the equivalent of $1.4 million, and details are sketchy, but it appears the company will sell packaged/prepared foods and perform both importing and exporting.

The Chinese market for ready meals was worth about 71.1 billion yuan ($9.9 billion) last year, up about 28% from 2018, according to Euromonitor International figures cited by CNN, and meal kits nearly tripled in four years to $4 billion in 2022.

Ma founded Alibaba in 1999, but he stepped down as chairman of the company in 2019, although he remains an Alibaba shareholder.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.