Origin Agritech Sets New Strategic Directions


Origin Agritech Ltd., an agricultural biotechnology trait and corn seed provider, announced the newly appointed CEO Dr. Z. James Chen has set and discussed new strategic directions for the company.

“With over 20 years of serving the agricultural industry in China, Origin has always been exploring the technology and market frontiers and has accumulated various leading technologies for the agricultural farmland in China,” says Chen. “Although the delay in GMO technology commercialization, as well as the weak corn seed market, have delayed the financial realization of our key agribiotech and germplasm technologies, we are confident that our efforts over the last 20 years have already built the foundation for future growth despite the weak market conditions.

“While we will continue to develop the agribiotech technologies as we wait for the final commercialization approval from the Chinese government, we will focus our effort on the e-commerce for the vast farmland in China applying blockchain technologies and foundation seed technologies, we believe our strategic advantages and past technology development will give us opportunities to be successful in these business areas.”

Below are three key strategic directions Chen and the new management team has set and discussed:

1. E-commerce development for the vast farmland in China

As a leading agriculture seed supplier over the last 20 years, Origin Agritech has built a strong brand name in the vast farmland across China and has involved in the e-commerce to provide seed products and services to the farmers. In addition to the typical advantages e-commerce can provide compared to the traditional distribution system, one of the key advantage e-commerce has for the seed business is the better ability to track the source of seed supply. With the new blockchain technologies, there is a potential that the detail original source of seed products can be tracked and documented. This could resolve the intellectual property pirating problems the Chinese farmers and seed providers face over the years. Under the new strategic cooperation with Elastos Foundation announced earlier, the company will start their e-commerce business development facing the vast Chinese farmland with the products including but not limited to the agricultural inputs.

2. Foundation corn seed technology business development

Origin has been working on the development of germplasm and hybrid corn seed varieties. The company has built a large collection of diverse corn seed germplasm. Origin has established a database system with the characterization of these germplasms in our collection. The company believes their elite lines will enable them to create competitive hybrid corn seed products for the Chinese seed market and possibly for the global corn seed market.

Since most local seed companies have no or limited R&D capability, they will rely on the seed technology developed by a company with foundation seed technologies. Origin is in the unique position to become a foundation corn seed company, similar to the success of foundation seed companies in the U.S., since Origin is one of very few companies in China with not only large diverse germplasm collection but also the most advanced breeding technologies, including the largest Doubled Haploid program in China. As the new strategic direction, Origin will increase our business development effort for our foundation corn seed technologies and become the first and only foundation seed company in China.

3. Further development of our biotech and genome editing seed technologies

Origin has been the leading biotech seed technology company in China and has successfully developed three leading GM traits. While the company is waiting for the final commercialization approval from the Chinese government, they cooperate with the government agencies in implementing the previously announced commercialization plan for GM corn seed technologies outlined in the 13th Five-Year Plan, which ends in 2020. In addition, recent advancement in genome editing technology opens up tremendous new opportunities in the seed industry. Origin is positioned to capture this opportunity to expand our scope of technology offerings. The company’s leading technology platform established for biotech development, including DNA and protein engineering, efficient commercial-scale plant transformation and versatile trait-efficacy testing capabilities, can be seamlessly utilized for genome editing.

“We believe the new strategic directions set by the new management team represents the key technology and market advantages built over the last two decades and we trust we can build new businesses while waiting for the final commercialization approval of agribiotech technology in China,” says Dr. Gengchen Han, chairman of Origin Agritech. “The new management team’s new strategic directions have full support from our board and we look forward to new Origin post commercial seed business divestiture.”


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