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Origin Sets New Strategic Directions

Mar 8, 2018

BEIJING, March 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Origin Agritech Ltd. (NASDAQ: SEED) ("the Company" or "Origin") an agricultural biotechnology trait and corn seed provider, today announced the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer 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. 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," discussed Dr. James Chen, "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 Dr. James Chen and 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, we will start our 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

Since the beginning, 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, which we believe is the largest among the Chinese corn seed companies. Also, we have established a database system with the characterization of these germplasms in our collection. We believe our unique elite lines will enable us 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, we 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 we are waiting for the final commercialization approval from the Chinese government, we 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. We are uniquely positioned to capture this opportunity to expand our scope of technology offerings. Our 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, and has already enabled us to jump start the project.

"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," said 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"

About Origin Agritech Limited

Origin Agritech Limited, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Zhong-Guan-Cun (ZGC) Life Science Park in Beijing, is China's leading agricultural biotechnology company, specializing in crop seed breeding and genetic improvement. Leading the development of crop seed biotechnologies, Origin Agritech's phytase corn was the first transgenic corn to receive the Bio-Safety Certificate from China's Ministry of Agriculture. Over the years, Origin has established a robust biotechnology seed pipeline including products with glyphosate tolerance and pest resistance (Bt) traits. Origin operates breeding stations nationwide located in key crop-planting regions. Product lines are vertically integrated for corn. For further information, please visit the Company's website at: http://www.originseed.com.cn or http://www.originseed.com.cn/en/.

Forward-Looking Statements

This communication contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the federal securities laws, including Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements address expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and contain words like "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "will," "would," "target," and similar expressions and variations. Forward-looking statements address matters that are uncertain. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are based on assumptions and expectations which may not be realized. They also involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the company's control. Some of the important factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those discussed in forward-looking statements are: failure to develop and market new products and optimally manage product life cycles; ability to respond to market acceptance, rules, regulations and policies affecting our products; failure to appropriately manage process safety and product stewardship issues; changes in laws and regulations or political conditions; global economic and capital markets conditions, such as inflation, interest and currency exchange rates; business or supply disruptions; natural disasters and weather events and patterns; ability to protect and enforce the company's intellectual property rights; and separation of underperforming or non-strategic assets or businesses. The company undertakes no duty to publicly revise or update any forward-looking statements as a result of future developments, or new information or otherwise, should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.


SOURCE Origin Agritech Limited

For further information: Xin Zhou, Phone: +86-10-58907556, Email: xin.zhou@originseed.com.cn

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