(ECNS) - Jack Ma, executive chairman of China's e-commerce giant Alibaba, said on Friday that close cooperation between government and companies is key to lifting people out of poverty.
He made his comments at an Alibaba conference in Shijiazhuang, capital of North China’s Hebei Province, on applying technologies in poverty relief.
The charismatic billionaire, also head of the Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund, said neither government nor companies alone can address poverty.
“The government is the left hand, the company is the right hand, so it’s possible to solve poverty with two hands,” said Ma.
He said farmers are poor not because they are not working hard but instead due to the disconnect between agricultural and commercial civilization. Some counties suffer from poverty because their development model and ideas lag behind the times.
New technology will redefine agricultural production, lifestyle, and thinking, so in the future famers will need Big Data to estimate the market and make decisions, said Ma.
“Alibaba hopes to make a good connection between agricultural products and markets through technology, and change people's views on agricultural production methods,” said Ma.
Yuan Longping, China's "father of hybrid rice," has improved productivity in rice cultivation to 1,000 kilograms per mu (about 0.07 hectares) of farmland, and Alibaba hopes that the Internet can help increase the value of farmland to $1,000 per mu, Ma added.
The Alibaba Poverty Relief Fund was established in December 2017. It plans to invest 10 billion yuan ($1.48 billion) over five years, mainly in education, health, women, ecology, and e-commerce.