(Yicai) Sept. 25 -- Nucleus Gene Technology, which made the headlines last year for penalties imposed on some of its polymerase chain reaction testing companies following irregularities, appears to be entering China’s burgeoning market for pre-cooked foods.
The Shenzhen-based company recently registered a number of agricultural companies and food trademarks, Yicai Global found in the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System.
According to the information, in May Nucleus Gene set up Wuhan Nucleus Gene Agricultural Science and Technology, which is engaged in grain planting, agricultural scientific research and experimental development, as well as the production, sales and transport of farm produce. It also makes instant rice meals and snacks.
The company is seeking funding for the research and development of rice products in Jiangxi and Hubei provinces, and it plans to build factories with an area of 3,392 square meters for molecular biological breeding, rice index detection, and rice processing equipment, according to corporate information platform Tianyancha.
Ready meals have become a commonplace in China over the past three years, partly because of the need for convenience foods during the Covid-19 pandemic. China’s pre-cooked food market grew 21 percent last year to CNY419.6 billion (USD57.4 billion), and it could be worth more than CNY1 trillion by 2026, according to iiMedia Research.
Founded in 2012, Nucleus Gene set up 16 PCR test companies within three months last year, attracting a lot of attention both for the huge revenue it managed to rake in and the many penalties it was handed due to errors and improper practices. In one case, its company in Lanzhou, capital of northwest Gansu province, was found to have been providing negative test results for people who had actually tested positive.
Nucleus Gene has invested in 62 companies in areas such as genetic testing technology, medical device sales and agricultural research. In June, the firm also added non-residential real estate leasing to its business scope, but has not yet started in the field, Shenzhen’s housing and construction authority told Yicai.
Editor: Tom Litting