Shipping containers find new life growing farm produce in Hong Kong

A girl stands next to the fish from MoVertical Farm at a supermarket in Hong Kong Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Operating on a rented 1,000 square meter patch of wasteland in Hong Kong's rural Yuen Long, Arthur Lee's MoVertical Farm utilizes around 30 of the decommissioned containers, to raise red water cress and other local vegetables hydroponically, which eliminates the need for soil. (AP)
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Updated 27 September 2020

Shipping containers find new life growing farm produce in Hong Kong

  • The bounty is sold to supermarkets in the crowded city of 7.5 million that is forced to import most of its food

HONG KONG: After a career making shipping containers that transport freight around the world, Arthur Lee has stayed with them in retirement, using them to raise crops and fish.

Operating on a rented 1,000-square-meter (quarter-acre) patch of wasteland in Hong Kong’s rural Yuen Long, Lee’s MoVertical Farm uses about 30 decommis- sioned containers, some decades old, to raise red watercress and other local vegetables hydroponically, eliminating the need for soil. A few are also used as ponds for freshwater fish.

The bounty is sold to supermarkets in the crowded city of 7.5 million that is forced to import most of its food.

As one of the world’s great trading hubs, Hong Kong is a rich source of the sturdy 40-foot (12-meter) -long boxes.

Lee uses the latest technology to monitor his crops. The controlled environment inside the boxes uses a hydroponic drip system to deliver nutrients, eliminate the need for herbicides and pesticides, and reduce risks from pests, small animals and bad weather. Temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, nutrient mixtures and light can all be monitored and adjusted.

And if Lee loses his lease, he can load his container farm onto trucks and move it elsewhere with minimal disruption.

Shipping container farms have taken off in countries around the world with wildly varying climates, from freezing to tropical, and on scales ranging from single containers to dozens. Many are located in urban areas where fresh produce can easily be delivered to stores or directly to consumers.

While vegetables, fruits such as strawberries and freshwater fish are among the most popular, some growers have turned to raising high-protein insects as a food supplement.

Controlled environment agriculture is just one use for shipping containers, both new and old. In poorer nations, they are often used as shops with the added advantage of locking up tightly at closing time. In more affluent nations, they have been turned into tiny homes, painting studios, coffee shops, backyard sheds for hobbyists and even swimming pools. Online, containers can be bought for about $4,000, with basic home conver- sions going for $30,000 or more.


Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

Updated 23 October 2020

Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund

TOKYO/DUBAI: SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday the sale of chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp. will drive growth in computing power, in his first public comments since the $40 billion deal was announced in September.
Son made the comments at a virtual summit about artificial intelligence hosted by Saudi Arabia, an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund, at which he reiterated his belief that AI would transform society.
The Nvidia deal, part of a series of asset sales by Son, whose group has been shaken by soured investments and the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised concerns it will threaten Arm’s role as a neutral supplier in the industry.
Son is set to speak next week with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at SoftBank World, the group’s annual event for customers and suppliers that is being retooled as it focuses on investing.
SoftBank’s growing cash pile is driving speculation about future investment plans, with the Vision Fund targeting external funding for a blank-check company, a source said, in a sign the group is regaining its mojo.
“I am a risk taker,” Son said on Thursday.
Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisers which oversees the Vision Fund, said the market share gained by online commerce companies in the last six to eight months is more than what they gained in the previous four years put together.
“COVID has accelerated the acceleration of AI even further,” Misra told the same conference, adding in the 105 companies Vision Fund 1 and 2 have invested in, artificial intelligence is the core of their businesses.