Billionaire Jack Ma, who lived abroad for several years after a conflict with the Chinese authorities, returned to China and created a new company that will deal with ready-to-eat food, writes Nikkei Asia.

The new company with an authorized capital of $1.39 million declares that its main activity is the production of ready-to-eat meals, which are growing in demand in China amid strict quarantine restrictions.

During his forced immigration to Japan, Ma was interested in farming technology and visited the aquaculture research center at Kindai University. In addition, Ma already has a stake in an aquaculture startup, which is the cultivation of aquatic organisms, mainly for human consumption. Perhaps this is what prompted Ma to start a new food company.

As a reminder, Jack Ma’s conflict with the Chinese authorities began in October 2020, when the businessman criticized the Chinese banking system in a public speech. After that, Jack Ma disappeared from the public eye for several months. In March 2021, Chinese regulators forced Ma and Alibaba to sell some of their media outlets, including the independent Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post.

In March 2023, with Chinese Prime Minister Li Qiang’s approval, Ma returned to China and the same month announced a plan to split Alibaba Group into six independent companies.