Beijing, August 21 (IANS): Billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma has hailed teachers for their contribution to developing education in rural areas in China, as he focuses on agriculture technology post-retirement.
An at event by the Jack Ma Foundation in the city of Hangzhou on Sunday, Ma said he can see that rural education and rural teachers are a huge force that can truly change the entire poor areas of China, reports the South China Morning Post.
“The sustainable development of our country is only possible through education reform,” he told teachers.
He listened to about 20 rural teachers describe how they plan to use funds from the Jack Ma foundation to improve rural education.
“I found that a place that does well in agriculture is not necessarily a place with good resources, but a place with unique thinking, and people with imagination,” said Ma, who invested in a fishery and agriculture startup in the country earlier this month.
“I especially hope that our rural schools will cultivate people who are full of imagination, unique thinking, and who dare to create the future,” the 58-year-old Ma added.
“The rural areas do need technology, while I think unique thinking and creativity are important as well,” he added.
Ma, however, did not talk about Alibaba which is undergoing a sweeping restructuring.
His new agriculture startup, called “1.8 Meters Marine Technology (Zhejiang) Co” has been incorporated in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, with a registered capital of 110 million yuan ($15 million).
The startup caters to processing, wholesale and retail sales of agriculture products as well as development of offshore wind power systems.
The new venture, which also covers processing, wholesale and retail sales of agriculture products as well as development of offshore wind power systems, fits Ma’s keen interest in the agriculture and food sector following his retirement from Alibaba.
In May, the University of Tokyo announced that Ma will teach as a visiting professor, giving lectures on management and sustainable agriculture.