BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - When companies enter new fields they usually branch out in related areas. But not this Chinese internet giant.
NetEase, a technology firm providing online services, reportedly plans to open a high-end restaurant sometime later this year or in 2017 where it will sell black pork raised by it.
This comes after Mr Wu Guoping, founder of restaurant Grandma's Home, bought a pig raised by NetEase for 160,000 yuan (S$33,056) at an auction on Saturday (Nov 26), Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday (Nov 28).
Mr Wu, a friend of Mr Ding Lei, founder and CEO of NetEase, said the animal deserved the high price as the meat of this breed is first class and delicious. Mr Wu implied that he and Mr Ding plan to open the restaurant.
Before Mr Wu, a buyer, who refused to reveal his or her identity, paid nearly 110,000 yuan for a black pig on the first day of the auction on Friday.
At the debut, the animal weighed more than 42kg, including shoulder, streaky pork, legs, etc. So each kilogram was worth more than 2,600 yuan. An internet user said the price equals Kobe beef, a famous Japanese delicacy.
Mr Ding said recently that 20,000 black pigs will go on sale in December. And the price will not be that expensive.
Mr Ding decided to raise pigs in 2009 as he wanted to provide safe and quality pork to customers. The IT tycoon chose Anji county in East China's Zhejiang province as a production base in March 2011.
"It costs roughly between 30 yuan and 40 yuan, depending on the parts of pigs. The price is a bit higher than the price in farmers' markets, and cheaper than the price in specialty supermarkets," NetEase said.
This is the first time that black pork produced at the base has gone up for auction.
The black pigs at the base are fed only natural food, raised for 300 days, kept in green bamboos with smart monitoring. It's worth noting that the pigs learn to use toilet and keep themselves healthy.
Food critic Shen Hongfei and Chen Xiaoqing said: "The environment at the base is as good as the environment at Aman Resorts."
"Pigs at our production base use the toilets, sleep in apartments, they never take injections and medicines. In other words, their living habits are healthier than many people," Mr Ding said.
"Besides, they enjoy exclusive feed, which is provided by nutrition experts from home and abroad. I can say the pigs are happier than pandas except the pigs will be eaten by people."
The black pork produced has been enjoyed by Chinese internet tycoons attending the annual World Internet Conference in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Mr Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo Group, said: "I can confirm that the black pork Ding served us tastes very good."