SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
For the fiscal year ended
Date of event requiring this shell company report……………
For the transition period from to
Commission file number
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
People’s Republic of
(Address of principal executive offices)
People’s Republic of
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. ☐ Yes ☒
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. ☐ Yes ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer, “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer ☐
Accelerated filer ☐
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board ☐
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow. ☐ Item 17 ☐ Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934).
(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court. ☐ Yes ☐ No
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Material Modifications to the Rights of Securities Holders and Use of Proceeds
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections
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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Statements in this annual report with respect to the Company’s current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of the Company. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those statements using words such as “believe,” “expect,” “plans,” “strategy,” “prospects,” “forecast,” “estimate,” “project,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “intend,” “seek,” “may,” “might,” “could” or “should,” and words of similar meaning in connection with a discussion of future operations, financial performance, events or conditions. From time to time, oral or written forward-looking statements may also be included in other materials released to the public. These statements are based on management’s assumptions, judgments and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it. The Company cautions investors that a number of important risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, product and service demand and acceptance, changes in technology, economic conditions, the impact of competition and pricing, government regulation, and other risks contained in reports filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Therefore, investors should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ significantly from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.
All such forward-looking statements, whether written or oral, and whether made by or on behalf of the company, are expressly qualified by the cautionary statements and any other cautionary statements which may accompany the forward-looking statements. In addition, the company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.
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Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Not applicable for annual reports on Form 20-F.
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Not applicable for annual reports on Form 20-F.
Item 3. Key Information
Our Corporate Structure and the Operations of Our PRC Subsidiaries and Consolidated Entities
Farmmi, Inc. (the “Farmmi,” “we,” “our” or “us”) is not a PRC operating company but a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands (“Cayman”). As a holding company, we conduct most of our operations through our subsidiaries based in mainland China, or PRC. In addition, we also sell our products through online and e-commerce channels. PRC laws and regulations restrict and impose conditions on foreign investment in internet based, value-added telecommunication services, mobile application services and certain other businesses. Accordingly, we operate our online and e-commerce sales in China mainly through our consolidated affiliated entities and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, consolidated affiliated entities and their nominee shareholder to control the business operations. Those affiliated entities are consolidated for accounting purposes, but are not entities in which our Cayman holding company, or our investors, own equity. Such structure and the contractual arrangements are designed to enable Farmmi to have power to direct significant activities of those entities and to receive economic benefits from these entities where PRC law prohibits, restricts or imposes conditions on direct foreign investment in such entities.
Our consolidated affiliated entities have been treated as Variable Interest Entities under the Statement of Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification 810 Consolidation and we are regarded as the primary beneficiary of our consolidated affiliated entities, or VIEs. Accordingly, we treat our VIEs as our consolidated entities under U.S. GAAP and we consolidate the financial results of our VIEs in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Our subsidiaries, our VIEs and the shareholder of VIEs have entered into a series of contractual agreements. These contractual arrangements enable us to: (a) receive the economic benefits that could potentially be significant to our consolidated affiliated entities in consideration for the services provided by our subsidiaries; (b) exercise effective control over our consolidated affiliated entities; and (c) hold an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in our VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. The contractual arrangements among our subsidiaries, our VIEs and their shareholder generally include shareholder voting rights proxy agreements, exclusive equity purchase option agreements, technologies, management and consulting services agreements, and equity interest pledge agreements. As a result of the contractual arrangements, we have effective control over and are considered the primary beneficiary of these affiliated companies, and we have consolidated the financial results of these companies in our consolidated financial statements. For more details of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview;” and “Item 4. Information on the Company-C. Organizational Structure.”
The contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our consolidated affiliated entities and we may incur substantial costs to enforce the terms of the arrangements. Uncertainties in the PRC legal system may limit our ability, as a Cayman holding company, to enforce these contractual arrangements. Our corporate structure is subject to risks associated with our contractual arrangements with our VIEs. Investors may never directly hold equity interests in our VIEs. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business do not comply with PRC laws and regulations, or if these regulations or their interpretations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations. See “Item 3. Key Information-D. Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Doing Business in China.”
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The following diagram illustrates our Company’s organizational structure as of the date of this annual report:
There are significant legal and operational risks associated with conducting a substantial portion of our operations in mainland China, including those changes in the legal, political, and economic policies of the PRC government, the relations between China and the United States, or PRC or U.S. regulations may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and the market price of our common shares. Any such changes could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our shares to investors and could cause the value of our shares to significantly decline or become worthless. Recent statements made and regulatory actions undertaken by the PRC government, including the recent enactment of China’s Data Security Law, as well as our obligations to comply with China’s new Cybersecurity Review Measures (which became effective on February 15, 2022), regulations and guidelines relating to the multi-level protection scheme, Personal Information Protection Law, or PIPL, and any other future laws and regulations may require us to incur significant expenses and could materially affect our ability to conduct our business, accept foreign investments or continue to be listed on a U.S. or foreign stock exchange.
Permissions Required from the PRC Authorities for Our Operations
We conduct our business in China through our subsidiaries and VIEs, or PRC entities. We are required to obtain certain permissions from the PRC authorities to operate, issue securities to foreign investors, and transfer certain data. The PRC government has exercised, and may continue to exercise, substantial influence or control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. Our ability to operate in China may be undermined if our PRC subsidiaries are not able to obtain or maintain approvals to operate in China. The central or local governments could impose new, stricter regulations or interpretations of existing regulations that could require additional expenditures, and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations. To operate our general business activities currently conducted in mainland China, each of our PRC entities is required to obtain a business license from the local counterpart of the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR. Each of our PRC entities has obtained a valid business license from the local SAMR, and no application for any such license has been denied. Our PRC entities are also required to obtain certain licenses and permits. Among our PRC entities, Farmmi Food and Farmmi Biotech are required to obtain food business licenses pursuant to the PRC Food Safety Law. Prior to April 2021, Nongyuan Network was required to made, and had made, a record filing with the competent telecommunications authority as a non-operational Internet Content (ICP) Provider and has received the ICP License. As of the date of this report, as advised by our PRC legal counsel, Zhengbiao Law Firm, we and our PRC entities have received all requisite permits, approvals and certificates from the PRC government authorities to conduct our business operations in China. To our knowledge, no permission or approval has been denied or revoked. However, given the uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations and the enforcement practice by government authorities, we cannot be certain that relevant policies in this regard will not change in the future, which may require us or our subsidiaries or VIEs to obtain additional licenses, permits, filings or approvals for conducting our business in the PRC. If we or our subsidiaries or VIEs do not receive or maintain required permissions or approvals, or inadvertently conclude that such permissions or approvals are not required, we may be subject to governmental investigations or enforcement actions, fines, penalties, suspension of operations, or be prohibited from engaging in relevant business or conducting securities offering, and these risks could result in a material adverse change in our operations, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, or cause such securities to significantly decline in value or become worthless.
In connection with our previous issuance of securities to foreign investors, under current PRC laws, regulations and regulatory rules, as of the date of this annual report, we and our PRC subsidiaries, (i) are not required to obtain permissions from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, (ii) are not required to go through cybersecurity review by the Cyberspace Administration of China, or the CAC, and (iii) have not received or were denied such requisite permissions by any PRC authority. However, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers.
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On July 10, 2021, the CAC published a revised draft revision to the Cybersecurity Review Measures for public comment, or the Revised Cybersecurity Measures. Under these measures, an operator having more than one million users shall be subject to cybersecurity review before listing abroad. The cybersecurity review will evaluate the risk of critical information infrastructure, core data, important data, or a large amount of personal information being influenced, controlled or maliciously used by foreign governments after going public overseas. The procurement of network products and services, data processing activities and overseas listing should also be subject to cybersecurity review if they concern or potentially pose risks to national security. According to the effective Cybersecurity Review Measures, online platform/website operators of certain industries may be identified as critical information infrastructure operators by the CAC, once they meet standard as stated in the National Cybersecurity Inspection Operation Guide, and such operators may be subject to cybersecurity review. On December 28, 2021, the CAC, the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”), and other government agencies jointly issued the final version of the Revised Measures for Cybersecurity Review, or the Measures, which took effect on February 15, 2022 and replaced the previously issued Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures. Under the Measures, an “online platform operator” in possession of personal data of more than one million users must apply for a cybersecurity review if it intends to list its securities on a foreign stock exchange. The operators of critical information infrastructure and the online platform operators (collectively, the “Operators”) carrying out data processing activities that affect or may affect national security, shall conduct a cybersecurity review, and any online platform operator who controls more than one million users’ personal information must go through a cybersecurity review by the cybersecurity review office if it seeks to be listed in a foreign country. Pursuant to the Measures, we believe we are not subject to the cybersecurity review by the CAC, given that (i) we possess personal information of a relatively small number of users in our business operations as of the date of this report, significantly less than one million users; and (ii) data processed in our business does not have a bearing on national security and thus shall not be classified as core or important data by the PRC authorities. We don’t believe that we are an Operator within the meaning of the Measures, nor do we control more than one million users’ personal information, and as such, we should not be required to apply for a cybersecurity review under the Revised Measures. Further, an expert interpretation of the Measures published at the CAC’s website on February 17, 2022 indicated no application review is required for operators that have been listed abroad before the implementation of the Revised Cybersecurity Measures. However, the Measures were just recently released and there is a general lack of guidance and substantial uncertainties exist with respect to their interpretation and implementation. Whether the data processing activities carried out by traditional enterprises (such as food, medicine, manufacturing, and merchandise sales enterprises) are subject to such review and the scope of the review remain to be further clarified by the regulatory authorities in the subsequent implementation process.
The PRC government recently initiated a series of regulatory actions and statements to regulate business operations in China, including adopting new measures to extend the scope of cybersecurity reviews, cracking down on illegal activities in the securities market, and expanding the efforts in anti-monopoly enforcement. The PRC government is increasingly focused on data security. In July 2021, the CAC opened cybersecurity probes into several U.S.-listed technology companies focusing on anti-monopoly regulation, and how companies collect, store, process and transfer data. On November 14, 2021, the CAC published the Draft Regulations on Network Data Security Management for public comments, which among other things, stipulates that a data processor listed overseas must conduct an annual data security review by itself or by engaging a data security service provider and submit the annual data security review report for a given year to the municipal cybersecurity department before January 31 of the following year. If the Draft Regulations on Network Data Security Management are enacted in the current form, we, as an overseas listed company, would be required to carry out an annual data security review and comply with the relevant reporting obligations. As of the date of this report, the draft regulations have been released for public comment only and have not been formally adopted. The final provisions and the timeline for its adoption are subject to changes and uncertainties. We have been closely monitoring the regulatory development in China, particularly regarding the requirements of approvals, annual data security review or other procedures that may be imposed on us. If any approval, review or other procedure is in fact required, we cannot assure our investors that we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such review or other procedure timely or at all. For any approval that we may be able to obtain, it could nevertheless be revoked and the terms of its issuance may impose restrictions on our operations and/or securities offerings. The PRC regulatory requirements with respect to cybersecurity and data security are constantly evolving and can be subject to varying interpretations and significant changes, resulting in uncertainties about the scope of our responsibilities in that regard. Failure to comply with these cybersecurity and data privacy requirements in a timely manner, or at all, may subject us to government enforcement actions and investigations, fines, penalties, suspension or disruption of our operations.
On December 24, 2021, the CSRC issued the Administrative Provisions of the State Council Regarding the Overseas Issuance and Listing of Securities by Domestic Enterprises (the “Draft Administrative Provisions”) and the Measures for the Overseas Issuance of Securities and Listing Record-Filings by Domestic Enterprises (Draft for Comments) (the “Draft Filing Measures”), collectively, the Draft Overseas Listing Rules, which are currently published for public comments only. According to the Draft Overseas Listing Rules, all China-based companies applying for overseas securities issuance, listing and post-listing capital operations shall be subject to statutory procedures, such as filing and information reporting requirement. After making initial applications with overseas stock markets for offerings or listings, all China-based companies shall file with the CSRC within three business days. In addition, overseas offerings and listings may be prohibited for such China-based companies when any of the following applies: (a) if the securities offerings and listings are prohibited by applicable PRC laws and rules; (b) if securities offerings and listings may constitute a threat to, or endanger national security as reviewed and determined by PRC authorities; (c) if there are material ownership disputes over applicants’ equity interests, major assets, core technologies or other items; (d) if a PRC company or its controlling shareholders or de facto controllers have committed certain crimes, under investigation for suspicion of major violations in the prior three years; (e) if any directors, supervisors, or senior executives of applicants have been subject to administrative punishments for severe violations, or are under investigations for crimes or major violations; or (f) other circumstances as provided. The Draft Administrative Provisions further provide that a fine between RMB 1 million and RMB 10 million may be imposed if a company fails to fulfil the filing requirements with the CSRC or conducts an overseas offering or listing in violation of the Draft Overseas Listing Rules. In the case of severe violations, an order to suspend relevant businesses or halt operations for rectification may be issued, and relevant business permits or operational license revoked. Overseas issuance and listings subject to the Draft Overseas Listing Rules include direct and indirect issuance and listings. We believe that the listing of our shares on Nasdaq Capital Market would be deemed an Indirect Overseas Issuance and Listing under the Draft Overseas Listing Rules and would be required to complete the filing procedures and submit the relevant information to CSRC if the final rules are promulgated as proposed in the current Draft Overseas Listing Rules. As of the date of this report, such rules have not become effective. In addition, after the rules take effect, we would only need to submit the filing materials and no CSRC approval would be required under the rules. Because we are relying on advice of PRC counsel, there is uncertainty inherent in relying on an opinion of counsel in connection with whether we are required to obtain permissions from a governmental agency that is required to approve of our operations and/or listings. In the event that a government approval is required, we cannot assure our investor that we will be able to receive clearance in a timely manner, or at all. Any failure of us to fully comply with new regulatory requirements may significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer our common shares, cause significant disruption to our business operations, severely damage our reputation, materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause our shares to significantly decline in value or become worthless.
For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information-D. Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Doing Business in China.”
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Cash Flows through Our Organization
Farmmi is a holding company with no operations of its own. We conduct our operations principally in China through our subsidiaries. As a result, we may rely upon dividends paid to us by our subsidiaries in the PRC to pay dividends and to finance any debt we may incur. As of the date of this report, none of our subsidiaries has issued any dividends or distributions to us and we have not made any dividends or distributions to our shareholders. Our subsidiaries in the PRC generate and retain cash generated from operating activities and re-invest it in our business.
Current PRC regulations permit our subsidiary in mainland China to pay dividends to the Company only out of its accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. Under our current corporate structure, we rely on dividend payments or other distributions from our subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders or to service any debt we may incur. If any subsidiary incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing such debt may restrict its ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, under PRC laws and regulations, each of our Chinese subsidiaries is required to set aside a portion of their net income each year to fund a statutory surplus reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital. This reserve is not distributable as dividends. As a result, our PRC subsidiaries are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of its net assets to us in the form of dividends, loans or advances. Further, the PRC government also imposes controls on the conversion of RMB into foreign currencies and the remittance of currencies out of the PRC. Therefore, we may experience difficulties in completing the administrative procedures necessary to obtain and remit foreign currency for the payment of dividends from our profits, if any. If we are unable to receive funds from our subsidiaries, we may be unable to pay cash dividends on our common shares.
Cash dividends, if any, on our common shares will be paid in U.S. dollars. If we are considered a PRC tax resident enterprise for tax purposes, any dividends we pay to our overseas shareholders may be regarded as China-sourced income and as a result may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%. A 10% PRC withholding tax is applicable to dividends payable to investors that are non-resident enterprises. Any gain realized on the transfer of common shares by such investors is also subject to PRC tax at a current rate of 10% which in the case of dividends will be withheld at source if such gain is regarded as income derived from sources within the PRC.
Pursuant to the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Tax Evasion on Income, or the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement, the 10% withholding tax rate may be lowered to 5% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns no less than 25% of a PRC resident enterprise. However, the 5% withholding tax rate does not automatically apply and certain requirements must be satisfied, including without limitation that (a) the Hong Kong resident enterprise must be the beneficial owner of the relevant dividends; and (b) the Hong Kong resident enterprise must directly hold no less than 25% share ownership in a PRC entity during the 12 consecutive months preceding its receipt of the dividends. In current practice, a Hong Kong entity must obtain a tax resident certificate from the Hong Kong tax authority to apply for the 5% lower PRC withholding tax rate. As the Hong Kong tax authority will issue such a tax resident certificate on a case-by-case basis, we cannot be certain that we will be able to obtain the tax resident certificate from the relevant Hong Kong tax authority and enjoy the preferential withholding tax rate of 5% under the Double Taxation Arrangement with respect to dividends to be paid by our PRC subsidiaries to our Hong Kong subsidiaries. As of the date of this report, we have not applied for the tax resident certificate from the relevant Hong Kong tax authority. Our Hong Kong subsidiaries intend to apply for the tax resident certificate when our subsidiaries in mainland China plan to declare and pay dividends to their Hong Kong parent companies.
As an offshore holding company, we will be permitted under PRC laws and regulations to provide funding from the proceeds of our offshore fund-raising activities to our subsidiaries in China only through loans or capital contributions, subject to the satisfaction of the applicable government registration and approval requirements. Before providing loans to our PRC subsidiaries, we will be required to make filings about details of the loans with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the PRC (the “SAFE”) in accordance with relevant PRC laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiaries that receive the loans are only allowed to use the loans for the purposes set forth in these laws and regulations. Under regulations of the SAFE, Renminbi is not convertible into foreign currencies for capital account items, such as loans, repatriation of investments and investments outside of China, unless the prior approval of the SAFE is obtained and prior registration with the SAFE is made.
Under PRC law, we may provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries only through capital contributions or loans, and prior to the dismantling of our PRC consolidated affiliated entities only through loans to our former consolidated affiliated entities, subject to satisfaction of applicable government registration and approval requirements.
For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2020, the Company provide working capital loans of $10.2 million in aggregate to our subsidiaries.
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For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021, the Company provided working capital loans of $132.9 million in aggregate to our wholly owned subsidiaries.
For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2022, the Company provided working capital loans of $140.4 million in aggregate to our wholly owned subsidiaries.
We have not declared or paid any cash dividends, nor do we have any present plan to pay any cash dividends on our common shares in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business.
As of the date of this report, we do not anticipate any difficulties on our ability to transfer cash between subsidiaries. We have not installed any cash management policies that dictate the amount of such funds and how such funds are transferred.
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act
The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCAA states that if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the PCAOB for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit our shares from being traded on a national securities exchange. Our current auditor is based in the U.S. and has been inspected by the PCAOB on a regular basis. Our auditor is not among the PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in the PRC or Hong Kong that are subject to PCAOB’s determination. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the future, if it is later determined that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate our auditor completely, or if there is any regulatory change or step taken by PRC regulators that does not permit our auditor to provide audit documentations to the PCAOB for inspection or investigation, our investors may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection. Any audit reports not issued by auditors that are completely inspected or investigated by the PCAOB, or a lack of PCAOB inspections of audit work undertaken in China that prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors’ audits and their quality control procedures, could result in a lack of assurance that our financial statements and disclosures are adequate and accurate, which could result in limitation or restriction to our access to the U.S. capital markets and trading of our securities, including trading on the national exchange or “over-the-counter” markets, may be prohibited under the HFCAA.
A. Selected Financial Data
In the table below, we provide you with historical selected financial data for our company. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020 and the selected consolidated balance sheets data as of September 30, 2022 and 2021 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are included in this annual report beginning on page F-1. The selected consolidated balance sheet data as of September 30, 2020, 2019 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated balance sheets as of September 30, 2020 and 2019, which are not included in this annual report. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended September 30, 2019 and 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2019, which are not included in this annual report. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with, and are qualified in their entirety by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” below. Our audited consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with US GAAP.
(All amounts in U.S. dollars)
Statements of operations data:
For the Years Ended September 30,
Income from operations
Provision for income taxes
Net income from continuing operations
Net income (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax
Net income (loss)
Earnings (loss) per share, basic
Earnings (loss) per share, diluted
Weighted average ordinary share outstanding, basic (1)
Weighted average ordinary share outstanding, diluted (1)
1. On May 31, 2022, the Company consolidated its ordinary shares at the ratio of one-for-twenty-five. The weighted average ordinary shares had been retrospectively adjusted from 2018 to reflect the consolidation of ordinary shares.
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Balance sheets data
Total shareholders' equity (net assets)
Selected Consolidated Financial Schedule
The tables below disaggregated the Consolidated Statements of Operations and Comprehensive Income (Loss) of the Company into FAMI, the VIE and its subsidiaries, the WFOE that is the primary beneficiary of the VIEs and an aggregation of other entities that are consolidated for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020.
For the year ended September 30, 2022
WFOE that is
VIE and its
Cost of revenues
Income (loss) from operations
Other income (expenses)
Income (loss) before income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Net income (loss)
For the financial year ended September 30, 2021
that is the
VIE and its
of the VIE
Revenues from continuing operations
Cost of revenues from continuing operations
Gross profit from continuing operations
Income (loss) from operations
Income (loss) before income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Net income (loss) from continuing operations
For the financial year ended September 30, 2020
that is the
VIE and its
of the VIE
Revenues from continuing operations
Cost of revenues from continuing operations
Income (loss) from operations
Income (loss) before income taxes
Provision for income taxes
Net income (loss) from continuing operations
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The tables below disaggregated the Consolidated Balance Sheets of the Company into loss) FAMI, the VIE and its subsidiaries, the WFOE that is the primary beneficiary of the VIEs and an aggregation of other entities that are consolidated as of the fiscal years ended September 30, 2022 and 2021.
As of September 30, 2022
WFOE that is
VIE and its
Current assets excluding intercompany receivables
Investment in subsidiaries
Non-current assets excluding investment in subsidiaries
Current liabilities excluding intercompany payables
Total shareholders' equity (net assets)
As of September 30, 2021
that is the
VIE and its
Current assets excluding intercompany receivables
Investment in subsidiaries
Non-current assets excluding investment in subsidiaries
Current liabilities excluding intercompany payables
Total shareholders’ equity (net assets)
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Exchange Rate Information
Our financial information is presented in U.S. dollars. Our functional currency is Renminbi (“RMB”), the currency of the PRC. Transactions denominated in currencies other than RMB are translated into RMB at the exchange rate quoted by the People’s Bank of China at the dates of the transactions. Exchange gains and losses resulting from transactions denominated in a currency other than the RMB are included in statements of operations as foreign currency transaction gains or losses. Our financial statements have been translated into U.S. dollars in accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standard (“SFAS”) No. 52, “Foreign Currency Translation”, which was subsequently codified within ASC 830, “Foreign Currency Matters”. The financial information is first prepared in RMB and then is translated into U.S. dollars at period-end exchange rates as to assets and liabilities and average exchange rates as to revenue and expenses. Capital accounts are translated at their historical exchange rates when the capital transactions occurred. The effects of foreign currency translation adjustments are included as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) in shareholders’ equity. The relevant exchange rates are listed below:
For the years ended September 30,
Period Ended RMB exchange rate
Period Average RMB exchange rate
B. Capitalization and Indebtedness
Not applicable by 20-F as an annual report.
C. Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds
Not applicable by 20-F as an annual report.
D. Risk Factors
Before you decide to purchase our Ordinary Shares, you should understand the high degree of risk involved. You should consider carefully the following risks and other information in this report, including our consolidated financial statements and related notes. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition and operating results could be adversely affected. As a result, the trading price of our Ordinary Shares could decline, perhaps significantly.
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Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
We face risks related to health epidemics that could impact our sales and operating results.
Our business could be adversely affected by the effects of a widespread outbreak of contagious disease, including COVID-19. Although the impact of COVID-19 was temporary on our business and operations in 2021 due to some shutdowns in China, any outbreak of contagious diseases in the future, and other adverse public health developments, particularly in China, could have a material and adverse effect on our business operations. These could include disruptions or restrictions on our ability to our operations, as well as temporary closures of our facilities and ports or the facilities of our customers and third-party service providers. Any disruption or delay of our customers or third-party service providers would likely impact our operating results and the ability of the Company to continue as a going concern. In addition, a significant outbreak of contagious diseases in the human population could result in a widespread health crisis that could adversely affect the economies and financial markets of China and many other countries, resulting in an economic downturn that could affect demand for our products and significantly impact our operating results.
The COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our operations for the year ended September 30, 2020 and had temporarily impact on our operations for the years ended September 30, 2021 and 2022.
Our ability to manufacture and/or sell our products may be impaired by damage or disruption to our manufacturing, warehousing or distribution capabilities, or to the capabilities of our suppliers, logistics service providers or distributors as a result of the impact from COVID-19. This damage or disruption could result from events or factors that are impossible to predict or are beyond our control, such as raw material scarcity, pandemics, government shutdowns, disruptions in logistics, supplier capacity constraints, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, fire, terrorism or other events. In December 2019, COVID-19 emerged. Because of the shelter-in-place orders and travel restrictions mandated by the Chinese government, the production and sales activities of the Company stopped during the end of January and February 2020, which adversely impacted the Company’s production and sales during that period. Although the production and sales resumed at the end of March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant adverse impact on our business and operations during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2020. Though our business and operation were only temporarily affected by COVID-19, the Company’s operations may be affected by the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The continued uncertainties associated with COVID-19 may cause the Company’s revenue and cash flows to underperform in the next 12 months. A resurgence could negatively affect the sales, the collection of the payments from account receivables and the utilization of advances to suppliers. The extent of the future impact of COVID-19 is still highly uncertain and cannot be predicted as of the date of this report. If COVID-19 further impacts its production and sales, the Company’s financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows could continue to be adversely affected.
The loss of any of our key customers could reduce our revenues and our profitability.
Our key customers in fiscal year 2022 were principally Shanghai Yunmihui Supply Chain Group Co. LTD (“Yunmihui”), and Ningbo Senjia Yamei Trading Co., LTD. (“Senjia Yamei”). They are unrelated parties and our new customers. For the fiscal years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, sales to Yunmihui accounted for approximately 31.2%, 0% and 0% of our total revenue, respectively, and sales to Senjia Yamei accounted for approximately 15.6%, 0% and 0%, respectively. While we've lost certain major customers in the last two years, we haven't experienced a decrease in revenue as a result of the development of new customers. If we cannot maintain long-term relationships with these major customers, the loss of our sales to them could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. There can be no assurance that we will maintain or improve the relationships with these customers, or that we will be able to continue to supply these customers at current levels or at all. Any failure to pay by these customers could have a material negative effect on our company’s business. In addition, having a relatively small number of customers may cause our quarterly results to be inconsistent, depending upon when these customers pay for outstanding invoices.
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We buy our supplies from a relatively limited number of suppliers.
During the years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, we had the following suppliers that accounted for 15% or more of our purchases.
For the years ended September 30,
Ningbo Caixiang Trading Co., Ltd.
Jingning Liannong Trading Co., Ltd.
Lishui Zhelin Trading Co., Ltd.
Qingyuan Nongbang Mushroom Industry Co., Ltd.
Zhongjin Boda (Hangzhou) Industrial Co., Ltd.
Because we purchase a material amount of our raw materials from these suppliers, the loss of any such suppliers could result in increased expenses for our company and result in adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our failure to comply with PRC food safety laws may require us to incur significant costs.
Manufacturers in the Chinese food industry are subject to compliance with PRC food safety laws and regulations. These food safety laws require all enterprises engaged in the production of edible fungi and various vegetables and fruits to obtain a food production license for each of their production facilities. Such laws also require manufacturers to comply with regulations with respect to food, food additives, packaging, and food production sites, facilities and equipment. Meanwhile, a separate food distribution license is required for engaging in the sale of food. Failure to comply with PRC food safety laws may result in fines, suspension of operations, loss of licenses and, in more extreme cases, criminal proceedings against an enterprise and its management. The Chinese government may also change the existing laws or regulations or impose additional or stricter laws or regulations, compliance with which may cause us to incur significant capital expenditures, which we may be unable to pass on to our customers through higher prices for our products.
We lack product and business diversification. Accordingly, our future revenues and earnings are more susceptible to fluctuations than a more diversified company.
Our primary business activities have historically focused on edible fungi products. Because our focus is limited in this way, any risk affecting the edible fungi industry or consumers’ desire for edible fungi products could disproportionately affect our business. Our lack of product and business diversification could inhibit the opportunities for growth of our business, revenues and profits. Although we began to expand into the bulk agricultural commodity trading industry in June 2021, we still lack product and business diversification.
Governmental support to the agriculture industry and/or our business may decrease or disappear.
Currently the Chinese government is supporting agriculture with tax exemption, especially e-commerce in agriculture. In addition, our local government has been supporting our company by providing subsidies from time to time. These beneficial policies may change, so the support we receive from the government may decrease or disappear, which may impact our development.
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Beneficial tax incentives may disappear.
We operate our business through our Chinese subsidiaries and variable interest entity(“VIE”). Currently the agriculture industry is highly supported by the Chinese government. For example, to further strengthen and standardize the support of comprehensive agricultural development to the characteristic industries with agricultural advantages, the Chinese National Office of Comprehensive Agricultural Development has decided to carry out the compilation of The Plan for Comprehensive Agricultural Development to Support the Agricultural Advantage and Characteristic Industries (2019-2021) (the “New Plan”). Edible fungi are emphasized and classified as a “dominant and characteristic industry,” which may become the objects of policy-support issue in the future. However, the New Plan has not yet been formally approved and the final result remains to be further observed.
As an agricultural production enterprise, we are enjoying certain tax benefits, including a tax waiver for our dried mushroom wholesale business. If the tax policies change in a way that some or all of the tax benefits we presently receive are cancelled, we may need to pay much higher taxes which will reduce or eliminate our profit margin.
We are subject to extensive regulations by the Chinese government.
The food industry is subject to extensive regulations by Chinese government agencies. Among other things, these regulations govern the manufacturing, importation, processing, packaging, storage, exportation, distribution and labeling of our products. New or amended statutes and regulations, increased production at our existing facilities, and our expansion into new operations and jurisdictions may require us to obtain new licenses and permits and could require us to change our methods of operations at costs that could be substantial.
Failure to make adequate contributions to Housing Provident Fund for certain employees of our PRC subsidiaries could subject us to labor disputes or complaint and adversely affect our financial condition.
Pursuant to the Regulations on Management of Housing Provident Fund (“HPF”), promulgated by the State Council on April 3, 1999 and amended on March 24, 2002, PRC enterprises must register with relevant HPF management center, open special HPF accounts at a designated bank and make timely HPF contributions for their employees. In accordance with the Regulations on Management of Housing Provident Fund and the Rules for Administrative Enforcement of Housing Provident Fund in Zhejiang Province, an enterprise that fails to register with HPF management center or open accounts for its employees shall be ordered to do so within the prescribed time; if a PRC company fails to comply within the prescribed time, it could be fined between RMB10,000 and RMB50,000.
Furthermore, if such enterprise fails to pay in full or in part its HPF contributions, such enterprise will be ordered by the HPF enforcement authorities to make such contributions, and may be compelled by the people’s court that has jurisdiction over the matter to make such contributions. Pursuant to the relevant HPF laws and regulations, HPF contributions are only required for employees with urban housing registration. For employees with rural housing registration, contributions are voluntary and are not required. In addition, there are discrepancies in the interpretation and enforcement of such regulations at the national and local level. Local and national enforcement practices at times vary significantly.
Our PRC subsidiaries have not opened HPF accounts for approximately 80% of their employees (most of them are with rural housing registration), and their contribution to HPF did not cover these employees. Regarding those employees with urban housing registration but not covered by our PRC subsidiaries’ contribution to HPF, our PRC subsidiaries may potentially be ordered by HPF enforcement authorities to make full contribution, and face litigation by employees in relation to their failure to make full contribution. As of the date of this report, our PRC subsidiaries have not received any demand or order from the competent authorities with respect their HPF contribution. To the extent the PRC subsidiaries are required to make such payment, our financial condition will likely be adversely affected.
Changes in trade policies may make our products more expensive to end purchasers in other countries or regions.
We currently receive incentives and support from our local government. Further, China has policy support for the agricultural sector. Because we export approximately 1.8% of our agricultural products for sale outside China, we are subject to the risk that foreign governments will view such support, either now or in the future, as unfair trade practices. If this were to happen, our products could be subjected to tariffs or other taxes that cause such products to be more expensive and thus less attractive to potential purchasers.
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The edible fungi cultivated by our suppliers is subject to risks related to diseases, pests, abnormal temperature change and extreme weather events.
Edible fungi are exposed to diseases and pests. Pests and diseases during the cultivation process may significantly decrease the quantity of the qualified edible fungi provided to us, which may force us to breach our contracts with our clients by not being able to supply enough products to them timely, and further impact our revenues.
Temperature can have a significant impact on the growth and the quality of edible fungi. Mushrooms can only grow under certain temperature. If the temperature is too low, the edible fungi may grow slowly or even not grow at all. If the temperature is too high, the edible fungi may grow too fast and have a worse texture.
Global warming is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events around the world. Although our suppliers are using more and more carefully managed environments for cultivation, extreme weather events may still impact our cultivation process. As a result, the supply of our raw materials may be affected. For example, because of the warm winter in 2016, the quantity of edible fungi cultivated in Lishui, Zhejiang Province increased, but the quality decreased and the price decreased accordingly.
Our supplier farms may fail to comply with the legal requirements and our quality standards and negatively affect the quality of our raw materials.
Our supplier farms are responsible for complying with the legal requirements. It is possible that they fail to comply with any PRC law relating to food safety during their production process. If the governmental agency determines they are not eligible to continue the operation, we will need to find alternative supplier farms to meet our demands. The supplier farms may also fail to comply with our quality standards. As a result, our raw materials provided by these family farms will be negatively affected. If we are unable to inspect and rule out any affected fungi and we sell them to our clients, our reputation will be harmed. Our clients may cease purchasing products from us. Even if we are able to inspect the affected fungi, we will need to spend extra time to find alternative suppliers to supplement our raw materials.
The purchase price of dried edible fungi is based on local market price which we cannot control and predict.
When we purchase dried edible fungi from our suppliers, we usually reach a price slightly higher than the local market price on that day or during that period because we seek to purchase top quality dried mushrooms, which command premium prices. If the local market price is unusually higher on that day or during that period, and if we have to purchase certain amount of edible fungi to fulfill our clients’ orders, we will spend more on the costs than expected. Because we receive the orders from our clients first when the sale price is set, and then purchase dried edible fungi accordingly, a higher purchase price will reduce our profit margin.
Increases in edible fungi costs may negatively affect our operating results.
The price of edible fungi may be inelastic when we wish to purchase supplies. While we have attempted to mitigate this risk by taking advantage of decreases in other expenses (due to better transportation infrastructure reducing the cost of bringing materials to our company and from our company to our customers) and improving efficiency, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to control our material expenses. In addition, as we are competing based upon low price, we will risk losing customers by increasing our selling prices. To the extent our expenses increase beyond the price we can charge our customers, our operating results could be harmed.
Our products are not nationally well known.
Our product visibility in general is not high in China. Although we plan to participate in more industry events to improve recognition and drive revenues, we have no guarantee that we will be able to materially increase the market recognition of all our edible fungi products. To the extent we are unable to increase our product visibility, we may face challenges in increasing revenues or increasing the profit margin for such products.
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Our products have relatively low technical requirements; therefore, barriers to entry are minimal.
Processing edible fungi does not require complicated technology. Our competitors can create similar products at a relatively low cost because there are minimal barriers of entry. To the extent our customers discriminate based on price, we may find that we lose market share to new producers. Moreover, we may be required to reduce our price in order to maintain or slow loss of market share for such products.
Our e-commerce strategy on Farmmi Liangpin Market has failed and our investment in Farmmi Jicai may not succeed too.
We have devoted significant resources to our decision to develop and expand our e-commerce business. We have built and developed our online store Farmmi Jicai targeting centralized procurement and our retail online store Farmmi Liangpin Market in China. We have closed our Farmmi Liangpin Market on December 31, 2020 because the revenue did not reach to the expected level. We have no guarantee that we will be successful in operating Farmmi Jicai going forward. If we do not manage it effectively, our business prospects could be further impaired.
Our directors’ and executive officers’ other business activities may pose conflicts of time commitment and conflicts of interest.
Our directors and executive officers have other business interests outside the company that could potentially give rise to conflicts of time commitment. For example, our Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman, Yefang Zhang, and her husband and one of our directors, Zhengyu Wang, collectively own all of Forasen Group. Zhengyu Wang is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tantech Holdings Ltd (“Tantech”), another Nasdaq listed company, and Yefang Zhang is its director.
Ms. Zhang has historically devoted approximately 85% of her time to matters concerning Farmmi, approximately 5% of her time to matters for Tantech, and approximately 10% of her time to matters concerning Forasen Group. Mr. Wang has historically devoted approximately 15% of his time to matters concerning Farmmi, approximately 15% of his time to matters for Tantech, and approximately 70% of his time to matters concerning Forasen Group. As Ms. Zhang and Mr. Wang devote considerable time and effort to Tantech and Forasen Group, these sort of business activities could both distract them from focusing on Farmmi and pose a conflict of time commitment.
Our company and Forasen Group signed a Non-Competition Agreement which provides that Forasen Group should not engage in any business that our company engages in, except purchasing products from us. In addition, Mr. Wang and Ms. Zhang signed a Non-Competition Agreement with our company and Tantech which provides that Mr. Wang and Ms. Zhang shall not vote in favor or otherwise cause Tantech to engage in the business that we conduct. Although because of these non-competition agreements, we do not believe that there are business activities of Mr. Wang and Ms. Zhang that will compete directly with our business operations, it is possible that the enforceability of these agreements is challenged and a conflict of interest occurs.
Outstanding bank loans may reduce our available funds.
We had approximately $1.8 million in outstanding bank loans as of September 30, 2022. While we believe we have adequate capital to repay those bank loans, there can be no guarantee that we will be able to pay all amounts when due or to refinance the amounts on terms that are acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to make our payments when due or to refinance such amounts, we could be subject to penalty and our business could be negatively affected.
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While we do not believe they will impact our liquidity, the terms of the debt agreements impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions could also have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations by significantly limiting or prohibiting us from engaging in certain transactions, including but not limited to: incurring or guaranteeing additional indebtedness; transferring or selling assets currently held by us; and transferring ownership interests in certain of our subsidiaries. The failure to comply with any of these covenants could cause a default under our other debt agreements. Any of these defaults, if not waived, could result in the acceleration of all of our debt, in which case the debt would become immediately due and payable. If this occurs, we may not be able to repay our debt or borrow sufficient funds to refinance it on favorable terms, if any.
We may be unable to refinance our short-term loans.
We expect to be able to refinance our short-term loans based on past experience and our good credit history. We do not believe failure to refinance from certain banks will have significant negative impact on our normal business operations. For the years ended September 30, 2020 and 2021, our operating cash flow was negative. While for the year ended September 30, 2022, our operating cash flow was positive. Our related parties including our major shareholders and affiliate companies, are willing to provide us financial support. However, it is possible for us to have negative cash flow again in the future, and for our related parties to be unable to provide us financial support as needed. As a result, the failure to refinance our short-term loans could potentially affect our capital expenditure and expansion of business.
We have in the past guaranteed third parties’ debt; if we guarantee third parties’ debt in the future, a failure by such parties to repay their debts may be enforced against our company.
As a condition of obtaining bank financing, smaller companies in China sometimes enter into reciprocal debt guaranties with third parties, pursuant to which the bank agrees to provide loans to one or more unrelated entities if such entities agree to guarantee the loans made to the other entities.
Over the years, our subsidiaries were the guarantors of third parties’ debts and were also beneficiaries of third parties’ guaranties.
We are not currently guaranteeing any third-party debts or intend to enter into any third-party guarantees. We have also adopted a policy that restricts third party guarantees. In addition, no banks currently require such guarantee arrangements from us. However, it is possible that we may, in the future, require bank loans to support our business or expand our operations and be unable to obtain unguaranteed loans. If this were to occur in the future, future lenders might demand unrelated third-party guarantees. If we were to enter into any other guarantees for third party debts and they failed to pay, our cash position could be adversely affected and we might be unable to be made whole by our counter-guarantor.
If we guarantee related parties’ debt in the future, we may be liable if they fail to pay the underlying debt.
In the past, we facilitated the operations of our related party Forasen Group by agreeing to guarantee its obligations.
For example, on December 20, 2013, Forasen Group signed a guarantee agreement with Bank of China to guarantee the loan and credit of up to RMB 15,000,000 on a loan from the Bank of China to Zhejiang Feiyan Down Products Co., Ltd. (“Feiyan”). Relying on this guarantee, Feiyan was able to borrow RMB 15,000,000 from the Bank of China.
Feiyan subsequently defaulted on its debt and Forasen Group entrusted Zhejiang FLS Mushroom Co., Ltd. (“FLS Mushroom”) to repay the money on Forasen Group’s behalf. Accordingly, FLS Mushroom signed a credit transfer agreement with Bank of China by which it promised to honor the guarantee in Forasen Group’s place.
In five installments paid in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Forasen Group fully repaid all outstanding amounts, and FLS Mushroom has no remaining liability for its guarantee.
If we enter into related party guarantees in the future and we are unable to cause a related party to honor such obligations, we could find that our company bears primary responsibility for such obligations.
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When China’s currency appreciates, our products may become more expensive to export to countries or regions outside mainland China.
While 2022 saw the Renminbi’s depreciation against the U.S. dollar, 2020 and 2021 saw the Renminbi’s appreciation against the U.S. dollar. We are subject to exchange rate risk between U.S. dollar and Renminbi because we sell our products in U.S. dollar from time to time, and our export distributors settle in U.S. dollar and these distributors may also be affected by U.S. dollar exchange rate. Among our export sales for the year ended September 30, 2022, approximately 3.76% were sold to U.S., approximately 22.51% were sold to Canada, approximately 10.32% were sold to Japan, approximately 2.72% were sold to Vietnam, approximately 6.05% were sold to Europe, approximately 10.14% were sold to the Middle East, and approximately 44.49% were sold to Taiwan. Settlement currency is USD for export transactions no matter what the destination country is.
We may require additional financing in the future and our operations could be curtailed if we are unable to obtain required additional financing when needed.
While we conducted a private placement in November 2018 and we have outstanding bank loans, we may need to obtain additional debt or equity financing to fund future capital expenditures. While we do not anticipate seeking additional financing in the immediate future, any additional equity may result in dilution to the holders of our outstanding shares of capital stock. Additional debt financing may include conditions that would restrict our freedom to operate our business, such as conditions that:
|limit our ability to pay dividends or require us to seek consent for the payment of dividends;|
|increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;|
require us to dedicate a portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our debt, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund capital expenditures, working capital and other general corporate purposes; and
|limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and our industry.|
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain any additional financing on terms that are acceptable to us, or at all.
Our bank accounts are not fully insured or protected against loss.
We maintain our cash with various banks located in mainland China. Cash maintained in banks within the People’s Republic of China of less than RMB0.5 million (equivalent to $70,289) per bank are covered by "Deposit Insurance Regulation" promulgated by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. Our cash accounts are not insured or otherwise protected. Should any bank or trust company holding our cash deposits become insolvent, or if we are otherwise unable to withdraw funds, we would lose the cash on deposit with that particular bank or escrow agent.
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We are substantially dependent upon our senior management.
We are highly dependent on our senior management to manage our business and operations. In particular, we rely substantially on our Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman, Ms. Yefang Zhang to manage our operations. Ms. Zhang has been involved in the mushroom industry for more than twenty years. Ms. Zhang cofounded Lishui Jingning Huali Co., Ltd. in 1994 with her husband Mr. Zhengyu Wang to engage in the mushroom business. Due to her experience in the industry and long relationships with our customer base, Ms. Zhang would be difficult to replace.
While we provide the legally required personal insurance for the benefit of our employees, we do not maintain key person life insurance on any of our senior management, including Ms. Zhang. The loss of any one of them would have a material adverse effect on our business and operations. Competition for senior management and our other key personnel is intense, and the pool of suitable candidates is limited. We may be unable to quickly locate a suitable replacement for any senior management that we lose. In addition, if any member of our senior management joins a competitor or forms a competing company, they may compete with us for customers, business partners and other key professionals and staff members of our company. Although some of our senior management of Forest Food and Hangzhou Nongyuan Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Nongyuan Network”) have signed confidentiality agreements in connection with their employment with us, we cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully enforce these provisions in the event of a dispute between us and any member of our senior management.
Failure to manage our growth could strain our management, operational and other resources, which could materially and adversely affect our business and prospects.
Our growth strategy includes developing export customers of our existing products of edible fungi, increasing varieties of agricultural products and expanding our e-commerce platforms. Pursuing these strategies has resulted in, and will continue to result in substantial demands on management resources. In particular, the management of our growth will require, among other things:
|stringent cost controls and sufficient liquidity;|
|strengthening of financial and management controls;|
|increased marketing, sales and support activities; and|
|hiring and training of new personnel.|
If we are not able to manage our growth successfully, our business and prospects would be materially and adversely affected.
An insufficient amount of insurance could expose us to significant costs and business disruption.
While we have purchased insurance to cover certain assets and property of our business, the amounts and scope of coverage could leave our business inadequately protected from loss. For example, not all of our subsidiaries have coverage of business interruption insurance. If we were to incur substantial losses or liabilities due to fire, explosions, floods, other natural disasters or accidents or business interruption, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
If we fail to protect our intellectual property rights, it could harm our business and competitive position.
We rely on a combination of trademark, domain name laws and non-disclosure agreements and other methods to protect our intellectual property rights.
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Implementation of PRC intellectual property-related laws have historically been lacking, primarily because of ambiguities in the PRC laws and enforcement difficulties. Accordingly, intellectual property rights and confidentiality protections in China may not be as effective as in the United States or other western countries. Furthermore, policing unauthorized use of proprietary technology is difficult and expensive, and we may need to resort to litigation to enforce or defend patents issued to us or to determine the enforceability, scope and validity of our proprietary rights or those of others. Such litigation and an adverse determination in any such litigation, if any, could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention, which could harm our business and competitive position.
We may be exposed to trademark infringement and other claims by third parties which, if successful, could disrupt our business and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
If we sell our branded products internationally, and as litigation becomes more common in China, we face a higher risk of being the subject of claims for trademark infringement, invalidity or indemnification relating to other parties’ proprietary rights. The defense of trademark suits, including of trademark infringement suits, and related legal and administrative proceedings can be both costly and time consuming and may significantly divert the efforts and resources of our management personnel. Furthermore, an adverse determination in any such litigation or proceedings to which we may become a party could cause us to:
|pay damage awards;|
|seek licenses from third parties;|
|pay ongoing royalties;|
|redesign our branded products; or|
|be restricted by injunctions,|
each of which could effectively prevent us from pursuing some or all of our business and result in our customers or potential customers deferring or limiting their purchase or use of our products. This could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Stock price volatility may expose investors to significant investment risk.
In three public offerings on March 22, 2021, April 28, 2021, and September 13, 2021, we offered an aggregate of more than 500 million shares. The significant increase in the number of outstanding shares that resulted from such offerings, together with successively decreasing offering prices per share, has resulted in material volatility in our stock price. In September 2022, we entered into a securities purchase agreement with an investor, pursuant to which we issued to the investor a convertible promissory note. Our obligations under the agreements may be satisfied in cash and/or ordinary shares. In the event that our repayments are made in shares in lieu of cash, we could expect a substantial increase in the number of the outstanding shares, which could cause additional volatility in our stock price. Between January 1, 2022 and the date of this report, our shares have closed between a low of $0.4004 and a high of $6.445 per share. If we engage in future capital raises at dilutive prices, or if investors believe that we will do so, our stock price could continue to be volatile.
Our investments in other businesses may not be successful.
On November 5, 2021, we purchased 124,590,064 shares of Shanghai Jiaoda Onlly Co., Ltd. (“Jiaoda Onlly”), a Shanghai Stock Exchange listed company under the ticker 600530.SH, from shareholders of Jiaoda Onlly. Jiaoda Onlly operates elderly care institutions and engages in the research and development, production and sale of health food. We, through one of our subsidiaries, Zhejiang Yitang Medical Service Co., Ltd. (“Yitang”), purchased a total of 16% of the shares of Jiaoda Onlly from China Capital Investment (Group) Co., Ltd. (CCIG) and its affiliates for approximately RMB 509 million (approximately US$71.6 million). In January 2022, we determined that the investment in Jiaoda Onlly no longer aligned with our business objectives and transferred our obligations and rights under the Equity Transfer Framework Agreement to two unrelated parties. Although we did not suffer a financial loss in this transaction, we could incur a loss in future investments.
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An increase in prepaid expenses and accounts receivable may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and the results of operations.
We have significantly increased our advances to suppliers and accounts receivable in fiscal year 2021. Although we increased such advances to suppliers mainly in anticipation of higher revenue to be generated in fiscal 2022, we cannot guarantee that such customer demand will be forthcoming, that such commodity prices will justify the amount of such increase, that the suppliers will continue to operate in business, that we would be able to recover any prepayments in the event suppliers are unable to deliver according to our agreements or that the market prices for our products will allow us to sell such products profitably even with increased demand. Similarly, our customers had significantly increased accounts receivable to us during fiscal year 2021. While this increase was partially related to an increase in revenues, some of the increase was also due to slower-paying customers than in fiscal year 2020. Although we recovered some of the accounts receivable following completion of the fiscal year, we cannot guarantee that we will be successful in recovering accounts receivable in a timely fashion in the future. In the event our customers fail to pay our business for products or suppliers fail to return advances in the event they are unable to meet our requirements, our financial operation would be materially adversely affected.
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
The PRC government may intervene in or influence our operations at any time, which could result in a material change in our operations and significantly and adversely impact the value of our common shares.
The Chinese government has significant oversight and discretion over the conduct of our business and may intervene or influence our operations as the government deems appropriate to further regulatory, political and societal goals. The Chinese government has recently published new policies that significantly affected certain industries such as the education and internet industries, and we cannot rule out the possibility that it will in the future release regulations or policies regarding our industries that could require us to seek permission from Chinese authorities to continue to operate our business, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, recent statements made by the Chinese government have indicated an intent to increase the government’s oversight and control over offerings of companies with significant operations in mainland China that are to be conducted in foreign markets, as well as foreign investment in China-based issuers like us. Any such action, if taken by the Chinese government, could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer common shares to our investors and could cause the value of our common shares to significantly decline or become worthless.
The approval of, filing or other procedures with the CSRC or other Chinese regulatory authorities may be required in connection with issuing securities to foreign investors under PRC law, and, if required, we cannot predict whether we will be able, or how long it will take us, to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other procedures.
The Chinese government has exercised, and may continue to exercise, substantial influence or control over virtually every sector of the Chinese economy through regulation and state ownership. Our ability to operate in mainland China could be undermined if our Chinese subsidiaries and consolidated entities are not able to obtain or maintain approvals to operate in mainland China. The central or local governments could impose new, stricter regulations or interpretations of existing regulations that could require additional expenditures and efforts on our part to ensure our compliance with such regulations or interpretations.
As of the date of this Annual Report, we are not required to obtain approval or prior permission from the CSRC or any other Chinese regulatory authority under the Chinese laws and regulations currently in effect to issue securities to foreign investors. However, the CSRC recently released the Draft Rules for public comment. If the Draft Rules are adopted in its current form, we would likely be required to submit filings to the CSRC in connection with the future issuance of our equity securities to foreign investors. As there are uncertainties with respect to the Chinese legal system and changes in laws, regulations and policies, including how those laws, regulations and policies will be interpreted or implemented, there can be no assurance that we will not be subject to additional requirements, approvals, or permissions in the future. We are required to obtain certain approvals from Chinese authorities in order to operate our Chinese subsidiaries.
The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules, appear to require that offshore special purpose vehicles, controlled by Chinese companies or individuals formed for the purpose of seeking a public listing on an overseas stock exchange through acquisitions of Chinese domestic companies or assets in exchange for the shares of the offshore special purpose vehicles, obtain CSRC approval prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange.
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Further, on July 6, 2021, the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council jointly promulgated the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law, pursuant to which Chinese regulators are required to accelerate rulemaking related to the overseas issuance and listing of securities, and update the existing laws and regulations related to data security, cross-border data flow, and management of confidential information. Numerous regulations, guidelines and other measures have been or are expected to be adopted in addition to the Cyber Security Law and Data Security Law.
Additionally, the Draft Rules, if declared into effect, will implement a new regulatory framework requiring China-based companies such as us to submit filings to CSRC in connection with the issuance of equity securities to foreign investors. The instructions on the Draft Rules released by the CSRC suggest that companies already listed on overseas exchanges will be exempt, such that prior offerings will not need to be filed with the CSRC. However, if the Draft Rules are declared into effect, we may be required to submit filings to the CSRC in connection with any future offerings, including follow-on offerings, secondary offerings or other shelf offerings, within three working days following the completion of any such offering(s).
As there are still uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of such regulatory guidance, we cannot assure investors that we will be able to comply with new regulatory requirements relating to our future overseas capital-raising activities, and we may become subject to more stringent requirements with respect to matters including data privacy and cross-border investigation and enforcement of legal claims.
If our Chinese subsidiaries or consolidated entities do not receive or maintain approvals or inadvertently conclude that approvals needed for their business are not required or if there are changes in applicable laws (including regulations) or interpretations of laws and our Chinese subsidiaries or consolidated entities are required but unable to obtain approvals in the future, then such changes or need for approvals (if not obtained) could adversely affect the operations of our Chinese subsidiaries or consolidated entities, including limiting or prohibiting the ability of our Chinese subsidiaries or consolidated entities to operate, and the value of our shares could significantly decline or become worthless.
To operate our general business activities currently conducted in mainland China, each of our Chinese subsidiaries and consolidated entities is required to obtain a business license from the local counterpart of the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR. Each of our Chinese subsidiaries and consolidated entities has obtained a valid business license from the local counterpart of the SAMR, and no application for any such license has been denied.
As of the date of this Annual Report, we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning or sanction regarding obtaining approval, completing filing or other procedures in connection with issuing securities to foreign investors from the CSRC or any other Chinese regulatory authorities that have jurisdiction over our operations. Based on the above and our understanding of the Chinese laws and regulations currently in effect, we were not required to submit an application to the CSRC or any other Chinese regulatory authorities for issuing securities to foreign investors. However, there remains significant uncertainty as to the enactment, interpretation and implementation of regulatory requirements related to overseas securities offerings and other capital markets activities, and we cannot assure you that the relevant Chinese regulatory authorities, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as us. If it is determined in the future that the approval of, filing or other procedure with the CSRC or any other regulatory authority is required for issuing our securities to foreign investors, it is uncertain whether we will be able and how long it will take for us to obtain the approval or complete the filing or other procedure, despite our best efforts. If we, for any reason, are unable to obtain or complete, or experience significant delays in obtaining or completing, the requisite relevant approval(s), filing or other procedure(s), we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other Chinese regulatory authorities. These regulatory authorities may impose fines and penalties on our operations in mainland China, limit our ability to pay dividends outside of mainland China, limit our operations in mainland China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from our public offerings into mainland China or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our shares. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory authorities later promulgate new rules requiring that we obtain their approvals or complete filing or other procedures for any future public offerings, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such requirements, if and when procedures are established to obtain such a waiver. Any uncertainties and/or negative publicity regarding such an requirement could have a material adverse effect on the trading price of our shares, including potentially making those shares worthless.
If the Chinese government determines that our corporate structure does not comply with Chinese regulations, or if Chinese regulations change or are interpreted differently in the future, the value of our common shares may decline in value or become worthless.
In July 2021, the Chinese government provided new guidance on Chinese companies raising capital outside of mainland China, including through arrangements called variable interest entities, or VIEs. We are not in an industry that is subject to foreign ownership limitations in mainland China. While most of our business operations are conducted by our PRC subsidiaries, our product sales via online and e-commerce channels, which account for a smaller portion of our business, are engaged by our VIEs through a series of contractual arrangements entered into between our subsidiaries and VIEs and the shareholder of the VIEs. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we exert control over VIEs and their subsidiaries and consolidate the VIEs’ operating results in our financial statements under U.S. GAAP. We believe our current ownership structure and the contractual arrangements among our subsidiaries, VIEs and the shareholder of the VIEs are not in violation of existing PRC laws, rules and regulations; and those contractual arrangements are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms and applicable PRC laws and regulations currently in effect. However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future PRC laws and regulations and there can be no assurance that the PRC government will ultimately take a view that is consistent with our opinion.
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It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to variable interest entities structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. In particular, in January 2015, the Ministry of Commerce, or MOFCOM, published a discussion draft of the proposed Foreign Investment Law for public review and comments. Among other things, the draft Foreign Investment Law expands the definition of foreign investment and introduces the principle of “actual control” in determining whether a company is considered a foreign-invested enterprise, or an FIE. Under the draft Foreign Investment Law, variable interest entities would also be deemed as FIEs, if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors, and be subject to restrictions on foreign investments. In December 2018, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress published a discussion draft of a new proposed Foreign Investment Law, aiming to replace the major existing laws governing foreign direct investment in China. On January 29, 2019, the discussion draft with slight revisions, or the New Draft Foreign Investment Law, was submitted for review. Pursuant to the New Draft Foreign Investment Law, foreign investments shall be subject to the negative list management system. However, the New Draft Foreign Investment Law does not mention “actual control” as regulated in the previous draft and the position to be taken with respect to the existing or future companies with the “variable interest entities” structure. On March 15, 2019, the Foreign Investment Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Final Foreign Investment Law, with slight revision, was finally issued and became effective on January 1, 2020.
Although variable interest entities structures are not included in the Final Foreign Investment Law, it is uncertain whether any interpretation and implementation of the Final Foreign Investment Law or new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to variable interest entities structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If the ownership structure, contractual arrangements and business of our PRC subsidiary or its consolidated VIEs are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or our PRC subsidiary fails to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant governmental authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violation, including levying fines, confiscating its income or the income of its PRC subsidiary or consolidated variable interest entities, revoking the business licenses or operating licenses of its PRC subsidiary or consolidated variable interest entities, discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on its operations, requiring our PRC operations to undergo a costly and disruptive restructuring and taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business. Any of these actions could cause significant disruption to our financial service business operations and severely damage its reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect its business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of these occurrences results in its inability to direct the activities of its consolidated variable interest entities, and/or its failure to receive economic benefits from its consolidated variable interest entities, we may not be able to consolidate our VIEs’ results into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.
The PRC legal system is based on written statutes. Unlike common law systems, it is a system in which legal cases have limited value as precedents. In the late 1970s, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past three decades has significantly increased the protections afforded to various forms of foreign or private-sector investment in China. Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to various PRC laws and regulations generally applicable to companies in China. However, since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always uniform and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties.
From time to time, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce our legal rights. However, since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules (some of which are not published in a timely manner or at all) that may have retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, and any failure to respond to changes in the regulatory environment in China could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.
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Trading in our securities may be prohibited under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act if the PCAOB determines that it cannot inspect or investigate completed our auditors for two consecutive years.
In recent years, U.S. regulatory authorities have continued to express their concerns about challenges in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. As part of a continued regulatory focus in the United States on access to audit and other information, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCAA includes requirements for the SEC to identify issuers whose audit work is performed by auditors that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a restriction imposed by a non-U.S. authority in the auditor’s local jurisdiction. The HFCAA also requires that, to the extent that the PCAOB has been unable to inspect an issuer’s auditor for three consecutive years since 2021, the SEC shall prohibit its securities registered in the United States from being traded on any national securities exchange or over-the-counter markets in the United States.
On March 24, 2021, the SEC adopted interim final rules relating to the implementation of certain disclosure and documentation requirements of the HFCAA. The interim final rule applies to registrants that the SEC identifies as having filed an annual report with an audit report issued by a registered public accounting firm that is located in a foreign jurisdiction that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by an authority in that jurisdiction. Consistent with the HFCAA, the interim final rule requires the submission of documentation to the SEC establishing that such a registrant is not owned or controlled by a government entity in that foreign jurisdiction and also requires disclosure in a foreign issuer’s annual report regarding the audit arrangements of, and government influence on, such registrants. On May 13, 2021, the PCAOB issued proposed PCAOB Rule 6100, Board Determinations Under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act for public comment. The proposed rule provides a framework for making determinations as to whether PCAOB is unable to inspect an audit firm in a foreign jurisdiction, including the timing, factors, bases, publication and revocation or modification of such determinations, and such determinations will be made on a jurisdiction-wide basis in a consistent manner applicable to all firms headquartered in the jurisdiction. In November 2021, the SEC approved PCAOB Rule 6100. On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted amendments to final rules implementing the disclosure and submission requirements of the HFCAA.
On December 2, 2021, the SEC issued amendments to finalize rules implementing the submission and disclosure requirements in the HFCAA. The rules apply to registrants that the SEC identifies as having filed an annual report with an audit report issued by a registered public accounting firm that is located in a foreign jurisdiction and that PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely because of a position taken by an authority in foreign jurisdictions.
On December 16, 2021, the PCAOB announced the PCAOB Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act determinations (the “PCAOB determinations”) relating to the PCAOB’s inability to inspect or investigate completely registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China of the PRC or Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region and dependency of the PRC, because of a position taken by one or more authorities in the PRC or Hong Kong.
On August 26, 2022, the PCAOB signed a SOP with the CSRC and the MOF of the PRC regarding cooperation in the oversight of PCAOB-registered public accounting firms in the PRC and Hong Kong which establishes a method for the PCAOB to conduct inspections of PCAOB-registered public accounting firms in the PRC and Hong Kong, as contemplated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Under the agreement, (a) the PCAOB has sole discretion to select the firms, audit engagements and potential violations it inspects and investigates without consultation with, or input from, PRC authorities; (b) procedures are in place for PCAOB inspectors and investigators to view complete audit work papers with all information included and for the PCAOB to retain information as needed; (c) the PCAOB has direct access to interview and take testimony from all personnel associated with the audits the PCAOB inspects or investigates; and (d) the PCAOB shall have the unfettered ability to transfer information to the SEC in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the SEC can use the information for all regulatory purposes, including administrative or civil enforcement actions. The PCAOB was required to reassess its determinations as to whether it is able to carry out inspections and investigations completely and without obstruction by the end of 2022. On December 15, 2022, the PCAOB determined that the PCAOB was able to secure complete access to inspect and investigate registered public accounting firms headquartered in mainland China and Hong Kong and vacated its previous determinations. However, should PRC authorities obstruct or otherwise fail to facilitate the PCAOB’s access in the future, the PCAOB will consider the need to issue a new determination.
Congress passed fiscal year 2023 Omnibus spending legislation in December 2022, which contained provisions to accelerate the HFCAA timeline for implementation of trading prohibitions from three years to two years. As a result, the SEC is required to prohibit an issuer’s securities from trading on any U.S. stock exchanges if its auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspections or complete investigations for two consecutive years.
Our current auditor, YCM CPA Inc., an independent registered public accounting firm that is headquartered in the United States, is a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”), and is required by the laws of the U.S. to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the U.S. and professional standards. YCM CPA Inc. has been subject to PCAOB inspections, and is not among the PCAOB-registered public accounting firms headquartered in the PRC or Hong Kong that are subject to PCAOB’s determination. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if it is later determined that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate our auditor completely, or if there is any regulatory change or step taken by PRC regulators that does not permit our auditor to provide audit documentations located in China or Hong Kong to the PCAOB for inspection or investigation, or the PCAOB expands the scope of the Determination so that we are subject to the HFCAA, as the same may be amended, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection. Any audit reports not issued by auditors that are completely inspected or investigated by the PCAOB, or a lack of PCAOB inspections or investigations of audit work undertaken in China that prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditors’ audits and their quality control procedures, could result in a lack of assurance that our financial statements and disclosures are adequate and accurate.
U.S. regulatory bodies may be limited in their ability to conduct investigations or inspections of our operations in China.
The SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice and other U.S. authorities may also have difficulties in bringing and enforcing actions against us or our directors or executive officers in the PRC. The SEC has stated that there are significant legal and other obstacles to obtaining information needed for investigations or litigation in China. China has recently adopted a revised securities law that became effective on March 1, 2020, Article 177 of which provides, among other things, that no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. Accordingly, without governmental approval in China, no entity or individual in China may provide documents and information relating to securities business activities to overseas regulators when it is under direct investigation or evidence discovery conducted by overseas regulators, which could present significant legal and other obstacles to obtaining information needed for investigations and litigation conducted outside of China.
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The enforcement of the PRC Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may adversely affect our business and our results of operations.
The PRC Labor Contract Law became effective and was implemented on January 1, 2008, which was amended on December 28, 2012. It has reinforced the protection of employees who, under the PRC Labor Contract Law, have the right, among others, to have written labor contracts, to enter into labor contracts with no fixed terms under certain circumstances, to receive overtime wages and to terminate or alter terms in labor contracts. According to the PRC Social Insurance Law, which became effective on July 1, 2011, and the Administrative Regulations on the Housing Funds, Companies operating in China are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance and housing funds plans, and the employers must pay all or a portion of the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees.
As a result of these laws and regulations designed to enhance labor protection, we expect our labor costs will continue to increase. In addition, as the interpretation and implementation of these laws and regulations are still evolving, our employment practice may not at all times be deemed in compliance with the new laws and regulations. If we are subject to severe penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.
We may be exposed to liabilities under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Chinese anti-corruption law.
We are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), and other laws that prohibit improper payments or offers of payments to foreign governments and their officials and political parties by U.S. persons and issuers as defined by the statute for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. We are also subject to Chinese anti-corruption laws, which strictly prohibit the payment of bribes to government officials. We have operations, agreements with third parties, and make sales in China, which may experience corruption. Our activities in China create the risk of unauthorized payments or offers of payments by one of the employees, consultants or distributors of our company, because these parties are not always subject to our control. We are in process of implementing an anticorruption program, which prohibits the offering or giving of anything of value to foreign officials, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. The anticorruption program also requires that clauses mandating compliance with our policy be included in all contracts with foreign sales agents, sales consultants and distributors and that they certify their compliance with our policy annually. It further requires that all hospitality involving promotion of sales to foreign governments and government-owned or controlled entities be in accordance with specified guidelines. In the meantime, we believe to date we have complied in all material respects with the provisions of the FCPA and Chinese anti-corruption law. However, our existing safeguards and any future improvements may prove to be less than effective, and the employees, consultants or distributors of our Company may engage in conduct for which we might be held responsible. Violations of the FCPA or Chinese anti-corruption law may result in severe criminal or civil sanctions, and we may be subject to other liabilities, which could negatively affect our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, the government may seek to hold our Company liable for successor liability FCPA violations committed by companies in which we invest or that we acquire.
Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material and adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in political and economic conditions in China and by China’s foreign exchange policies. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar, and the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation halted and the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.
We are subject to exchange rate risk between U.S. dollar and Renminbi because we sell our products in U.S. dollar from time to time, and our export distributors settle in U.S. dollar and these distributors may also be affected by U.S. dollar exchange rate. If China’s currency appreciates, our products may become more expensive to export to other countries and our sales may be negatively affected by the appreciation.
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Significant revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material and adverse effect on your investment. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive upon cash exercises, if any, of the warrants to purchase the Ordinary Shares offered hereby into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our Ordinary Shares or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.
Very limited hedging options are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency.
PRC government has legalized the VIE structure for the first time, but VIE structure still faces many uncertainties.
The PRC government regulates telecommunications-related businesses through strict business licensing requirements and other government regulations. These laws and regulations also include limitations on foreign ownership of PRC companies that engage in telecommunications-related businesses.
Because we are a Cayman Islands company, we are classified as a foreign enterprise under PRC laws and regulations, and most of our PRC subsidiaries, (Farmmi (Hangzhou) Enterprise Management Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Enterprise”), Lishui Farmmi Technology Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Technology”), Farmmi Agricultural), are foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we conduct our e-commerce websites (Farmmi Jicai and Farmmi Liangpin Market which we recently closed) in China through contractual arrangements with our VIE and its shareholder. These contractual arrangements provide us with effective control over our VIE and enable us to receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIE in consideration for the services provided by our foreign-owned PRC subsidiaries, and have an exclusive option to purchase all of the equity interest in our VIE when permissible under PRC laws. For a description of our VIE structure and these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company - C. Organizational Structure - Hangzhou Nongyuan Network Technology Co., Ltd. (‘Nongyuan Network’).”
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Based on the advice of our PRC legal counsel, Zhejiang Zhengbiao Law Firm, the corporate structure of our VIE in China are in compliance with all existing PRC laws and regulations. According to the administrative provisions of the State Council on overseas securities issuance and listing of domestic enterprises (Draft for comments) (hereinafter referred to as the Administrative Provisions) and the administrative measures for the filing of overseas securities issuance and listing of domestic enterprises (Draft for comments) (hereinafter referred to as the Filing Measures) issued by the CSRC on December 24, 2021, The VIE framework has been officially recognized, but these two laws in draft are soliciting public opinions. At present, they have not been officially promulgated or come into force, and many filing requirements have been put forward for VIE. If VIE structure enterprises satisfy the premise of complying with domestic laws and regulations, and meet the compliance requirements, these VIE structure enterprises can go for overseas listing after filing with the appropriate government agencies, but the legislators have not yet provided a detailed explanation of the word "compliance requirements". According to relevant legislative explanations and interpretations, the new regulations are not retroactive in principle, but additional offerings after overseas listing still need to be subject to regulatory measures such as filings. In addition, the new regulations require stricter national security and data security in the process of overseas listing. For example, "personal information of more than 100,000 people or sensitive personal information of more than 10,000 people" is subject to supervision of Chinese government. Chinese government's legislation or legal supervision on VIE structure has just begun, the new regulations are only the "first step", and other supporting rules will inevitably follow up in the future. Also, the two new regulations would be revised to some extent after the comments period, so overseas listed companies with VIE structure still faces many legal uncertainties. We need to wait for the more detailed rules and guideline on the VIE structure. According to PRC lawyers, since the Chinese government is a government under the rule of law. Before laws are promulgated, there will be a process of soliciting comments or publicizing them in advance. It is unlikely that there will be a sudden change in legislative act without prior notice. Our PRC legal counsel has further advised that if the PRC government authority finds that our corporate structure, the contractual arrangements or the reorganization to establish our current corporate structure do not comply with any applicable PRC laws, rules or regulations, the contractual arrangements will become invalid or unenforceable, and we could be subject to severe penalties including being prohibited from continuing operations
If we or any of our current or future VIE are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT, which regulates internet information services companies, SAIC, which regulates advertising companies, and the CSRC would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including levying fines, confiscating our income or the income of Farmmi Agricultural and the VIE, revoking the business licenses or operating licenses of Farmmi Agricultural and the VIE, shutting down our servers or blocking our websites, discontinuing or placing restrictions or onerous conditions on our operations, requiring us to undergo a costly and disruptive restructuring, restricting our rights to use the proceeds upon cash exercises, if any, of the warrants to purchase the Ordinary Shares offered hereby to finance our business and operations in China, or taking other enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.
Any of these actions could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations. In addition, if the imposition of any of these penalties causes us to lose the rights to direct the activities of the VIE or our right to receive their economic benefits, we would no longer be able to consolidate the VIE. Our VIE was engaged in the operation of our own e-commerce websites, which were established in August 2016. Our VIE had revenue of $25.3 million, $5.5 million and $4.6 million for the years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Our contractual arrangements with our VIE may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.
We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with Nongyuan Network and its shareholder to operate our e-commerce websites. For a description of our VIE structure and these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company - C. Organizational Structure - Hangzhou Nongyuan Network Technology Co., Ltd. (‘Nongyuan Network’).” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over the VIE as direct ownership. If we had direct ownership of our VIE, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors, which in turn could effect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance of the contractual obligations by our VIE and its shareholder to exercise control over our VIE. Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our VIE may not be as effective in ensuring our control over our e-commerce websites in China as direct ownership would be.
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Our VIE may conduct actions which cause our loss.
Xinyang Wang, a daughter of Mr. Zhengyu Wang, one of the directors of our Company and Ms. Yefang Zhang, our Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer, is the sole shareholder of our VIE. The Exclusive Call Option Agreement between Farmmi Agricultural, Xinyang Wang and our VIE Nongyuan Network provides that Nongyuan Network may not conduct key actions without the prior written consent of Farmmi Agricultural, such as amending its articles of association. See “Item 4. Information on the Company - C. Organizational Structure - Hangzhou Nongyuan Network Technology Co., Ltd. (‘Nongyuan Network’).” However, the list of these key actions may not be comprehensive enough to protect us. For example, the key actions requiring Farmmi Agricultural prior written consent exclude entering into material contracts in the ordinary course of business. It is possible that contracts entered by Nongyuan Network in the ordinary course of business, such as procurement agreements with exceptionally high amount, may be detrimental to its business. As we are obligated to absorb all of our VIE’s loss from its activities, entry in these agreements by our VIE may cause our loss.
The shareholder of our VIE may breach, or cause our VIE to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with her and our VIE. Any failure by our VIE or its shareholder to perform her obligations under our contractual arrangements with her would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Xinyang Wang is the sole shareholder of our VIE. She may breach, or cause our VIE to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with her and our VIE. If our VIE or its shareholder fails to perform their respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend resources to enforce our rights under the contracts. We may have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief and claiming damages, which may not be effective. For example, if the shareholder of Nongyuan Network were to refuse to transfer her equity interests in Nongyuan Network to us or our designee when we exercise the call option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, if she transferred the equity interests to other persons against our interests, or if she were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel her to perform his contractual obligations.
All of these contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in the PRC. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as in other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. Under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would incur additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our VIE, and our ability to conduct our e-commerce websites may be negatively affected.
Contractual arrangements our subsidiary has entered into with our VIE may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and a finding that we or our VIE owes additional taxes could substantially reduce our consolidated net income and the value of your investment.
Under PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements among Farmmi Agricultural, our VIE and the shareholder of our VIE do not represent arm’s-length prices and consequently adjust Farmmi Agricultural’s or our VIE’s income in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction, for PRC tax purposes, of expense deductions recorded by our VIE, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties on Farmmi Agricultural or our VIE for any unpaid taxes. Our consolidated net income may be materially and adversely affected if Farmmi Agricultural or our VIE’s tax liabilities increase or if they are subject to late payment fees or other penalties.
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The shareholders and director of our VIE may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our e-commerce websites.
Xinyang Wang, a daughter of our CEO and Chairwoman Yefang Zhang and Zhengyu Wang, one of our directors, is the shareholder and executive director (legal representative) of our VIE Nongyuan Network. As Xinyang Wang is affiliated with both parties of the contractual arrangements, conflicts of interest may arise for Xinyang Wang. For example, it is in Farmmi Agricultural’s interest to collect as much service fees as possible from Nongyuan Network. However, as the shareholder and executive director (legal representative) of Nongyuan Network, Xinyang Wang may have personal benefits to limit the service fees paid by Nongyuan Network to Farmmi Agricultural. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, this equity holder will act in the best interests of our company or that such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. We currently rely on Xinyang Wang to comply with the laws of China, which protect contracts. We also rely on the laws of Cayman Islands, which provide that directors owe a duty of care and a duty of loyalty to our company. However, the legal frameworks of China and the Cayman Islands do not provide guidance on resolving conflicts in the event of a conflict with another corporate governance regime. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the shareholder of our VIE, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.
We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC regulation of internet-related business and companies.
The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including foreign ownership of, and the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to, companies in the internet industry. These internet-related laws and regulations are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involves significant uncertainties. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations. Issues, risks and uncertainties relating to PRC governmental regulation of the internet industry include, but are not limited to, the following.
We only have control over our websites through contractual arrangements due to the restriction of foreign investment in businesses providing value-added telecommunication services in China, including internet information provision services. This may significantly disrupt our e-commerce business, subject us to sanctions, compromise enforceability of related contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us.
The evolving PRC regulatory system for the internet industry may lead to the establishment of new regulatory agencies. For example, in May 2011, the State Council announced the establishment of a new department, the State Internet Information Office (with the involvement of the State Council Information Office, the MIIT, and the Ministry of Public Security). The primary role of this new agency is to facilitate the policy-making and legislative development in this field, to direct and coordinate with the relevant departments in connection with online content administration and to deal with cross-ministry regulatory matters in relation to the internet industry.
We are required to obtain and maintain various licenses and permits and fulfill registration and filing requirements in order to conduct and operate our e-commerce websites. If these new laws and regulations are promulgated, additional licenses may be required for our operations. If our operations do not comply with these new regulations at the time they become effective, or if we fail to obtain any licenses required under these new laws and regulations, we could be subject to penalties.
The Code for Cross-Border Electronic Commerce Commodity Operations and Services (T/CCPITCSC 009-2017) (hereinafter referred to as “Cross-Border Electronic Commerce Code”) and the Code for Mobile Electronic Commerce Commodity Operations and Services (T/CCPITCSC 009-2017) were formally implemented on March 1, 2018. In addition, the Electronic Commerce Law of the PRC was formally passed on August 31, 2018 and came into effect on January 1, 2019. These laws and regulations define and regulate e-commerce operations, e-commerce operators, e-commerce platform operators, e-commerce contracts, disputes and responsibilities, so as to regulate e-commerce activities. They are legally binding on our company’s electronic commerce platform Nongyuan Network and our online stores. As a result, our electronic commerce activities are subject to stricter legal constraints which cause potential legal risks.
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The Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in an Operation of Value-added Telecommunications Business, issued by the MIIT in July 2006, prohibits domestic telecommunication service providers from leasing, transferring or selling telecommunications business operating licenses to any foreign investor in any form, or providing any resources, sites or facilities to any foreign investor for their illegal operation of a telecommunications business in China. According to this circular, either the holder of a value-added telecommunication services operation permit or its shareholders must directly own the domain names and trademarks used by such license holders in their provision of value-added telecommunication services. The circular also requires each license holder to have the necessary facilities, including servers, for its approved business operations and to maintain such facilities in the regions covered by its license. If an Internet Content Provider license (“ICP license”) holder fails to comply with the requirements and also fails to remediate such non-compliance within a specified period of time, the MIIT or its local counterparts have the discretion to take administrative measures against such license holder, including revoking its ICP license. As of April 19, 2021, ICP is not required to be renewed according to the announcement from Zhejiang Communications Administration. Currently, Nongyuan Network, our PRC consolidated VIE, holds an ICP license and operates our websites (farmmi88.com; Farmmi.com; Farmmi.com.cn). Nongyuan Network owns the relevant domain names and has the necessary personnel to operate such websites.
The interpretation and application of existing PRC law, regulations and policies and possible new laws, regulations or policies relating to the internet industry have created substantial uncertainties regarding the legality of existing and future foreign investments in, and the businesses and activities of, internet businesses in China, including our e-commerce business. We cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our e-commerce business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain new ones.
Our business may be materially and adversely affected if any of our PRC subsidiaries declares bankruptcy or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.
The Enterprise Bankruptcy Law of the PRC, or the Bankruptcy Law, came into effect on June 1, 2007. The Bankruptcy Law provides that an enterprise will be liquidated if the enterprise fails to settle its debts as and when they fall due and if the enterprise’s assets are, or are demonstrably, insufficient to clear such debts.
Our PRC subsidiaries hold certain assets that are important to our business operations. If any of our PRC subsidiaries undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
According to the SAFE’s Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Improving and Adjusting Foreign Exchange Administration Policies for Direct Investment, effective on December 17, 2012, and the Provisions for Administration of Foreign Exchange Relating to Inbound Direct Investment by Foreign Investors, effective May 13, 2013, if any of our PRC subsidiaries undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, prior approval from the SAFE for remittance of foreign exchange to our shareholders abroad is no longer required, but we still need to conduct a registration process with the SAFE local branch. It is not clear whether “registration” is a mere formality or involves the kind of substantive review process undertaken by SAFE and its relevant branches in the past.
PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiaries to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit these PRC subsidiaries’ ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.
On July 4, 2014, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Relating to Domestic Resident’s Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, which replaced the former Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents to Engage in Financing and Inbound Investment via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles (generally known as SAFE Circular 75) promulgated by SAFE on October 21, 2005. On February 13, 2015, SAFE further promulgated the Circular on Further Simplifying and Improving the Administration of the Foreign Exchange Concerning Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, which took effect on June 1, 2015. This SAFE Circular 13 has amended SAFE Circular 37 by requiring PRC residents or entities to register with qualified banks rather than SAFE or its local branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas investment or financing.
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These circulars require PRC residents to register with qualified banks in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, which is referred to in SAFE Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” These circulars further require amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as an increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC residents, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material events. In the event that a PRC resident holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to complete the required SAFE registration, the PRC subsidiary of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its PRC subsidiary. Furthermore, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of foreign exchange controls.
While Ms. Yefang Zhang, a citizen of Saint Lucia, is not required to register with qualified bank according to the various SAFE registration requirements, we may not at all times be fully aware or informed of the identities of all our shareholders or beneficial owners that are required to make such registrations, and we may not always be able to compel them to comply with all relevant foreign exchange regulations. As a result, we cannot assure you that all of our shareholders or beneficial owners who are PRC residents will at all times comply with, or in the future make or obtain any applicable registrations or approvals required by all relevant foreign exchange regulations. The failure or inability of such individuals to comply with the registration procedures set forth in these regulations may subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrictions on our cross-border investment activities or our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to, or obtain foreign-exchange-dominated loans from, our company, or prevent us from making distributions or paying dividends. As a result, our business operations and our ability to make distributions to you could be materially and adversely affected.
Furthermore, as these foreign exchange regulations are still relatively new and their interpretation and implementation has been constantly evolving, it is unclear how these regulations, and any future regulation concerning offshore or cross-border transactions, will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant government authorities. We cannot predict how these regulations will affect our business operations or future strategy. In addition, if we decide to acquire a PRC domestic company, we cannot assure you that we or the owners of such company, as the case may be, will be able to obtain the necessary approvals or complete the necessary filings and registrations required by the foreign exchange regulations. This may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and could adversely affect our business and prospects.
Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Such classification would likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.
Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, that became effective in January 2008, an enterprise established outside the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes and is generally subject to a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate on its worldwide income. Under the implementation rules to the EIT Law, a “de facto management body” is defined as a body that has material and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel and human resources, finances and properties of an enterprise. In addition, a circular, known as SAT Circular 82, issued in April 2009 by the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, specifies that certain offshore incorporated enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups will be classified as PRC resident enterprises if the following are located or resident in the PRC: senior management personnel and departments that are responsible for daily production, operation and management; financial and personnel decision making bodies; key properties, accounting books, company seal, and minutes of board meetings and shareholders’ meetings; and half or more of the senior management or directors having voting rights. Further to SAT Circular 82, the SAT issued a bulletin, known as SAT Bulletin 45, which took effect in September 2011, to provide more guidance on the implementation of SAT Circular 82 and clarify the reporting and filing obligations of such “Chinese-controlled offshore incorporated resident enterprises.” SAT Bulletin 45 provides procedures and administrative details for the determination of resident status and administration on post-determination matters.
Although both SAT Circular 82 and SAT Bulletin 45 only apply to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreign individuals, the determining criteria set forth in SAT Circular 82 and SAT Bulletin 45 may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises, PRC enterprise groups or by PRC or foreign individuals.
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If the PRC tax authorities determine that the actual management organ of Farmmi, Inc. (“FAMI”) is within the territory of China, FAMI may be deemed to be a PRC resident enterprise for PRC enterprise income tax purposes and a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we will be subject to the uniform 25% enterprise income tax on our world-wide income, which could materially reduce our net income. In addition, we will also be subject to PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations.
Up to the date of this report, FAMI has not been notified or informed by the PRC tax authorities that it has been deemed to be a resident enterprise for the purpose of the EIT Law.
Finally, dividends payable by us to our investors and gains on the sale of our shares may become subject to PRC withholding tax, at a rate of 10% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or 20% in the case of non-PRC individuals (in each case, subject to the provisions of any applicable tax treaty), if such gains are deemed to be from PRC sources. It is unclear whether non-PRC shareholders of our company would be able to claim the benefits of any tax treaties between their country of tax residence and the PRC in the event that we are treated as a PRC resident enterprise. Any such tax may reduce the returns on your investment in our shares.
Enhanced scrutiny over acquisition transactions by the PRC tax authorities may have a negative impact on potential acquisitions we may pursue in the future.
Pursuant to the Notice on Strengthening Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfers by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or SAT Circular 698, issued by the SAT on December 10, 2009, where a foreign investor transfers the equity interests of a resident enterprise indirectly via disposition of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, or an “indirect transfer,” and such overseas holding company is located in a tax jurisdiction that (i) has an effective tax rate less than 12.5% or (ii) does not tax foreign income of its residents, the foreign investor shall report the indirect transfer to the competent tax authority. The PRC tax authority will examine the true nature of the indirect transfer, and if the tax authority considers that the foreign investor has adopted an “abusive arrangement” in order to avoid PRC tax, it may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company and re-characterize the indirect transfer and as a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%.
On February 3, 2015, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Several Issues Concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Property Transfer by Non-Resident Enterprises, or SAT Bulletin 7, to supersede existing provisions in relation to the “indirect transfer” as set forth in Circular 698, while the other provisions of Circular 698 remain in force. Pursuant to SAT Bulletin 7, where a non-resident enterprise indirectly transfers properties such as equity in PRC resident enterprises without any justifiable business purposes and aiming to avoid the payment of enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer must be reclassified as a direct transfer of equity in PRC resident enterprise. To assess whether an indirect transfer of PRC taxable properties has reasonable commercial purposes, all arrangements related to the indirect transfer must be considered comprehensively and factors set forth in SAT Bulletin 7 must be comprehensively analyzed in light of the actual circumstances. SAT Bulletin 7 also provides that, where a non-PRC resident enterprise transfers its equity interests in a resident enterprise to its related parties at a price lower than the fair market value, the competent tax authority has the power to make a reasonable adjustment to the taxable income of the transaction.
There is little practical experience regarding the application of SAT Bulletin 7 because it was issued in February 2015. During the effective period of SAT Circular 698, some intermediary holding companies were actually looked through by the PRC tax authorities, and consequently the non-PRC resident investors were deemed to have transferred the PRC subsidiary and PRC corporate taxes were assessed accordingly. It is possible that we or our non-PRC resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 7 or to establish that we or our non-PRC resident investors should not be taxed under SAT Bulletin 7, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-PRC resident investors’ investment in us.
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Our PRC subsidiaries are subject to restrictions on paying dividends or making other payments to us, which may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.
We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We may need dividends and other distributions on equity from our PRC subsidiaries to satisfy our liquidity requirements. Current PRC regulations permit our PRC subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, Our PRC subsidiaries are required to set aside at least 10% of their respective accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds until the total amount set aside reaches 50% of their respective registered capital. Our PRC subsidiaries may also allocate a portion of its after-tax profits based on PRC accounting standards to employee welfare and bonus funds at their discretion. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Furthermore, if our PRC subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us.
In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require us to adjust our taxable income under the contractual arrangements we currently have in place in a manner that would materially and adversely affect our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. Any limitation on the ability of our subsidiary to distribute dividends to us or on the ability of our PRC consolidated VIE to make payments to us may restrict our ability to satisfy our liquidity requirements.
In addition, the EIT Law, and its implementation rules provide that a withholding tax rate of up to 10% will be applicable to dividends payable by Chinese companies to non-PRC-resident enterprises unless otherwise exempted or reduced according to treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions where the non-PRC-resident enterprises are incorporated.
Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.
The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Under our current corporate structure, our company in the Cayman Islands may rely on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Therefore, our PRC subsidiaries are able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior approval from SAFE, subject to the condition that the remittance of such dividends outside of the PRC complies with certain procedures under PRC foreign exchange regulation, such as the overseas investment registrations by our shareholders or the ultimate shareholders of our corporate shareholders who are PRC residents. But approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. For foreign investors, after reporting and being reviewed and approved by the appropriate government authorities, the foreign investors can transfer money through banks and other payment institutions, but the daily limit is $50,000 and the amount of each remittance cannot exceed $10,000. In addition, we can also distribute and transfer profits or dividends through our overseas third-party institutions in accordance with the law. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the RMB into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Under our current corporate structure, our company in the Cayman Islands may rely on dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, such as profit distributions and trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. Therefore, our PRC subsidiaries are able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to us without prior approval from SAFE, subject to the condition that the remittance of such dividends outside of the PRC complies with certain procedures under PRC foreign exchange regulation, such as the overseas investment registrations by our shareholders or the ultimate shareholders of our corporate shareholders who are PRC residents. But approval from or registration with appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. For foreign investors, after reporting and being reviewed and approved by the appropriate
government authorities, the foreign investors can transfer money through banks and other payment institutions, but the daily limit is $50,000 and the amount of each remittance cannot exceed $10,000. In addition, we can also distribute and transfer profits or dividends through our overseas third-party institutions in accordance with the law. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currencies to satisfy our foreign currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders.
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The M&A Rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.
The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Companies by Foreign Investors, or the “M&A Rules,” adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies in 2006 and amended in 2009, and recently adopted regulations and rules concerning mergers and acquisitions established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities by foreign investors more time consuming and complex. For example, the M&A Rules require that the Ministry of Commerce be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise, if (i) any important industry is concerned, (ii) such transaction involves factors that have or may have impact on the national economic security, or (iii) such transaction will lead to a change in control of a domestic enterprise which holds a famous trademark or PRC time-honored brand. Mergers, acquisitions or contractual arrangements that allow one market player to take control of or to exert decisive impact on another market player must also be notified in advance to the Ministry of Commerce when the threshold under the Provisions on Thresholds for Prior Notification of Concentrations of Undertakings, or the Prior Notification Rules, issued by the State Council in August 2008 is triggered. In addition, the security review rules issued by the Ministry of Commerce that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the Ministry of Commerce, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement. In the future, we may grow our business by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the above-mentioned regulations and other relevant rules to complete such transactions could be time consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions. It is clear that our business would not be deemed to be in an industry that raises “national defense and security” or “national security” concerns. However, the Ministry of Commerce or other government agencies may publish explanations in the future determining that our business is in an industry subject to the security review, in which case our future acquisitions in the PRC, including those by way of entering into contractual control arrangements with target entities, may be closely scrutinized or prohibited. Our ability to expand our business or maintain or expand our market share through future acquisitions would as such be materially and adversely affected.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Ordinary Shares
We are an “emerging growth company,” and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our Ordinary Shares less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or the JOBS Act. For as long as we continue to be an emerging growth company, we may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and shareholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years, although we could lose that status sooner if our revenues exceed $1.07 billion, if we issue more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt in a three-year period, or if the market value of our Ordinary Shares held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of any March 31 before that time, in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the following September 30. We cannot predict if investors will find our Ordinary Shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Ordinary Shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Ordinary Shares and our share price may be more volatile.
Under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can also delay adopting new or revised accounting standards until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail our company of this exemption from new or revised accounting standards and, therefore, will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not emerging growth companies.
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We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. The rights of our shareholders may be different from the rights of shareholders governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.
We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. Our corporate affairs are governed by our First Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association and by the laws of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders and the responsibilities of members of our board of directors (the “Board of Directors”) may be different from the rights of shareholders and responsibilities of directors in companies governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions. In the performance of its duties, the board of directors of a solvent Cayman Islands exempted company is required to consider the company’s interests, and the interests of its shareholders as a whole, which may differ from the interests of one or more of its individual shareholders. See “Item 16.G. Corporate Governance.”
We are a “foreign private issuer,” and our disclosure obligations differ from those of U.S. domestic reporting companies. As a result, we may not provide you the same information as U.S. domestic reporting companies or we may provide information at different times, which may make it more difficult for you to evaluate our performance and prospects.
We are a foreign private issuer and, as a result, we are not subject to the same requirements as U.S. domestic issuers. Under the Exchange Act, we are subject to reporting obligations that, to some extent, are more lenient and less frequent than those of U.S. domestic reporting companies. For example, we are not required to issue quarterly reports or proxy statements. We are not required to disclose detailed individual executive compensation information. Furthermore, our directors and executive officers are not required to report equity holdings under Section 16 of the Exchange Act and are not subject to the insider short-swing profit disclosure and recovery regime.
As a foreign private issuer, we are also exempt from the requirements of Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure) which, generally, are meant to ensure that select groups of investors are not privy to specific information about an issuer before other investors. However, we are still subject to the anti-fraud and anti-manipulation rules of the SEC, such as Rule 10b-5 under the Exchange Act. Since many of the disclosure obligations imposed on us as a foreign private issuer differ from those imposed on U.S. domestic reporting companies, you should not expect to receive the same information about us and at the same time as the information provided by U.S. domestic reporting companies.
A recent joint statement by the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), or the “PCAOB,” proposed rule changes submitted by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”), and an act passed by the U.S. Senate all call for additional and more stringent criteria to be applied to emerging market companies upon assessing the qualification of their auditors, especially the non-U.S. auditors who are not inspected by the PCAOB. These developments could add uncertainties to our continued listing on Nasdaq in the future.
On April 21, 2020, the SEC and PCAOB released a joint statement highlighting the risks associated with investing in companies based in or having substantial operations in emerging markets including China. The joint statement emphasized the risks associated with lack of access for the PCAOB to inspect auditors and audit work papers in China and higher risks of fraud in emerging markets.
On May 18, 2020, Nasdaq filed three proposals with the SEC to (i) apply a minimum offering size requirement for companies primarily operating in a “Restrictive Market,” (ii) adopt a new requirement relating to the qualification of management or the board of directors for Restrictive Market companies, and (iii) apply additional and more stringent criteria to an applicant or listed company based on the qualifications of the company’s auditor.
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed an act requiring a foreign company to certify it is not owned or manipulated by a foreign government if the PCAOB is unable to audit specified reports because the company uses a foreign auditor not subject to PCAOB inspection. If the PCAOB is unable to inspect the company’s auditor for three consecutive years, the issuer’s securities are prohibited to trade on a national exchange.
On June 4, 2020, the U.S. President issued a memorandum ordering the President’s working group on financial markets to submit a report to the President within 60 days of the date of the memorandum that should include recommendations for actions that can be taken by the executive branch and by the SEC or PCAOB to enforce U.S. regulatory requirements on Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges and their audit firms. However, it remains unclear what further actions, if any, the U.S. executive branch, the SEC, and PCAOB will take to address the problem.
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The lack of access to the PCAOB inspection in China prevents the PCAOB from fully evaluating audits and quality control procedures of the auditors based in China. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of these accounting firms’ audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our Ordinary Shares to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.
Our auditor, YCM CPA, is an independent registered public accounting firm with the PCAOB, and as an auditor of publicly traded companies in the U.S., is subject to laws in the U.S. pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. YCM CPA Inc. will be inspected by the PCAOB on a regular basis and has not been inspected by PCAOB. However, the above recent developments have added uncertainties to our continued listing on Nasdaq in the future, to which Nasdaq may apply additional and more stringent criteria after considering the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit and quality control procedures, adequacy of personnel and training, sufficiency of resources, geographic reach, and experience as related to our audit.
As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to rely on exemptions from certain Nasdaq corporate governance standards applicable to U.S. issuers, including the requirement that a majority of an issuer’s directors consist of independent directors. If we opt to rely on such exemptions in the future, such decision might afford less protection to holders of our Ordinary Shares.
Section 5605(b)(1) of the Nasdaq Listing Rules requires listed companies to have, among other things, a majority of its board members to be independent, and Section 5605(d) and 5605(e) require listed companies to have independent director oversight of executive compensation and nomination of directors. As a foreign private issuer, however, we are permitted to follow home country practice in lieu of the above requirements.
The corporate governance practice in our home country, the Cayman Islands, does not require a majority of our board to consist of independent directors or the implementation of a nominating and corporate governance committee. Since a majority of our Board of Directors would not consist of independent directors if we relied on the foreign private issuer exemption, fewer board members would be exercising independent judgment and the level of board oversight on the management of our company might decrease as a result. In addition, we could opt to follow Cayman Islands law instead of the Nasdaq requirements that mandate that we obtain shareholder approval for certain dilutive events, such as an issuance that will result in a change of control, certain transactions other than a public offering involving issuances of 20% or greater interests in the company and certain acquisitions of the shares or assets of another company.
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If we are unable to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our Ordinary Shares may decline.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal control. In addition, we are required to furnish a report by management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Currently we have not established and maintained effective disclosure controls and procedures. In addition, there are material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. Among other things, we did not have sufficient personnel with appropriate levels of accounting knowledge and experience to address complex U.S. GAAP accounting issues and to prepare and review financial statements and related disclosures under U.S. GAAP. Specifically, our control did not operate effectively to ensure the appropriate and timely analysis of and accounting for unusual and non-routine transactions and certain financial statement accounts. We also have not established sufficient risk assessment in accordance with the requirement of COSO 2013 Framework. In addition, we have not established an internal control department and had a lack of adequate policies and procedures in internal audit function to ensure that our policies and procedures have been carried out as planned. As a result, our internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of September 30, 2021. We are in the process of designing, implementing, and testing the internal control over financial reporting required to comply with this obligation, which process is time consuming, costly, and complicated. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting beginning with our annual report on Form 20-F following the date on which we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” which may be up to five full years following the date of our initial public offering. If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner or assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, or if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting when required, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our Ordinary Shares could be negatively affected, and we could become subject to investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC, or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.
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The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources and divert management’s attention.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, the listing requirements of the securities exchange on which we list, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Despite recent reforms made possible by the JOBS Act, compliance with these rules and regulations will nonetheless increase our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We must engage U.S. securities law counsel and U.S. auditors, and we have annual payments for listing on a stock exchange. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and rules and regulations implemented by the SEC and The Nasdaq Capital Market require significantly heightened corporate governance practices for public companies. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. In addition, as long as we are listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market, we are also required to file semi-annual financial statements. While it is impossible to determine the amounts of such expenses in advance, we expect that we will incur expenses of between $500,000 and $1 million per year. We do not expect to incur materially greater costs as a result of becoming a public company than those incurred by similarly sized foreign private issuers.
If we fail to comply with these rules and regulations, we could become the subject of a governmental enforcement action, investors may lose confidence in us and the market price of our Ordinary Shares could decline.
As a result of disclosure of information in this report and in filings required of a public company, our business and financial condition will become more visible, which we believe may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If such claims are successful, our business and operating results could be harmed, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our business, brand and reputation and results of operations.
We also expect that being a public company and these rules and regulations makes it more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to obtain coverage. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our Board of Directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee and compensation committee, and qualified executive officers.
The obligation to disclose information publicly may put us at a disadvantage to competitors that are private companies.
As a publicly listed company, we are required to file periodic reports with the SEC upon the occurrence of matters that are material to our company and shareholders. In some cases, we need to disclose material agreements or results of financial operations that we would not be required to disclose if we were a private company. Our competitors may have access to this information, which would otherwise be confidential. This may give them advantages in competing with our company. Similarly, as a U.S.-listed public company, we are governed by U.S. laws that our non-publicly traded competitors are not required to follow. To the extent compliance with U.S. laws increases our expenses or decreases our competitiveness against such companies, our public listing could affect our results of operations.
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The market price of our Ordinary Shares may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance.
Since our Ordinary Shares became listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market in February 2018, the trading price of our Ordinary Shares has fluctuated substantially. Between January 1, 2022 and the date of this report, our shares have closed between a low of $0.40 and a high of $6.4 per share, and the last reported trading price on February 9, 2023 was $1.06 per Ordinary Share. The trading prices of our Ordinary Shares may be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control. This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, like the performance and fluctuation in the market prices or the underperformance or deteriorating financial results of other listed companies based in China. The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of other Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our Ordinary Shares, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. The market price of our Ordinary Shares may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:
|actual or anticipated fluctuations in our revenue and other operating results;|
|the financial projections we may provide to the public, any changes in these projections or our failure to meet these projections;|
actions of securities analysts who initiate or maintain coverage of us, changes in financial estimates by any securities analysts who follow our company, or our failure to meet these estimates or the expectations of investors;
|announcements by us or our competitors of significant products or features, technical innovations, acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or capital commitments;|
|price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market, including as a result of trends in the economy as a whole;|
|lawsuits threatened or filed against us; and|
|other events or factors, including those resulting from war or incidents of terrorism, or responses to these events.|
In addition, the stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected and continue to affect the market prices of equity securities of many companies. Stock prices of many companies have fluctuated in a manner unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. In the past, shareholders have filed securities class action litigation following periods of market volatility. If we were to become involved in securities litigation, it could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our business, and adversely affect our business.
Our shares may be delisted if we are unable to regain compliance with Nasdaq continued listing requirements within the applicable compliance periods.
On October 12, 2022, we received a notification letter (the “Notice”) from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. (“NASDAQ”) advising the Company that for 30 consecutive business days preceding the date of the Notice, the bid price of our ordinary shares had closed below the $1.00 per share minimum required for continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market pursuant to the Minimum Bid Price Rule. We were provided 180 calendar days, or until April 10, 2023, to regain compliance with the $1.00 per share minimum required for continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market pursuant to NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 5550(a)(2) (the “Minimum Bid Price Rule”).
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To regain compliance, the bid price of the Company’s ordinary shares must close at or above $1.00 per share for a minimum of ten consecutive business days at any time during the 180-day compliance period. The Company may choose to ask the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC. (“NASDAQ”) to grant us an additional 180 calendar days. The Company may also choose to cure the deficiency by effecting a reverse share split, if necessary. It is possible that we will fail to comply with the continued listing requirement of Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 5550(a)(2) again or any other listing requirements. If so, and Nasdaq may delist our shares if we cannot regain compliance timely.
We do not intend to pay dividends for the foreseeable future.
We currently intend to retain any future earnings to finance the operation and expansion of our business, and we do not expect to declare or pay any dividends in the foreseeable future. As a result, you may only receive a return on your investment in our Ordinary Shares if the market price of our Ordinary Shares increases.
Shares eligible for future sale may adversely affect the market price of our Ordinary Shares, as the future sale of a substantial amount of outstanding Ordinary Shares in the public marketplace could reduce the price of our Ordinary Shares.
The market price of our shares could decline as a result of sales of substantial amounts of our shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur. In addition, these factors could make it more difficult for us to raise funds through future offerings of our Ordinary Shares. For example, 372,000 shares are held by FarmNet Limited after the reverse share split in May,2022, an entity controlled by Ms. Yefang Zhang, our Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer. They are “restricted securities” as defined in Rule 144. These shares may be sold in the future without registration under the Securities Act to the extent permitted by Rule 144 or other exemptions under the Securities Act and permitted by relevant agreements.
Our shareholders may face difficulties in protecting their interests because we are a Cayman Islands exempted company.
Our corporate affairs are governed by our Third Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association, by the Companies Law (as revised) of the Cayman Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under the laws of the Cayman Islands are not as clearly defined as under statutes or judicial precedent in existence in jurisdictions in the United States. Therefore, you may have more difficulty protecting your interests than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States, due to the comparatively less formal nature of Cayman Islands law in this area.
While Cayman Islands law allows a dissenting shareholder to express the shareholder’s view that a court sanctioned reorganization of a Cayman Islands company would not provide fair value for the shareholder’s shares, Cayman Islands statutory law does not specifically provide for shareholder appraisal rights in connection with a merger or consolidation of a company. This may make it more difficult for you to assess the value of any consideration you may receive in a merger or consolidation or to require that the acquirer gives you additional consideration if you believe the consideration offered is insufficient. However, Cayman Islands statutory law provides a mechanism for a dissenting shareholder in a merger or consolidation to apply to the Grand Court for a determination of the fair value of the dissenter’s shares if it is not possible for the company and the dissenter to agree on a fair price within the time limits prescribed.
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Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies (such as us) have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records and accounts or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders. Our directors have discretion under our First Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest. Subject to limited exceptions, under Cayman Islands’ law, a minority shareholder may not bring a derivative action against the board of directors. Class actions are not recognized in the Cayman Islands, but groups of shareholders with identical interests may bring representative proceedings, which are similar.
United States civil liabilities and certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.
We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. In addition, the majority of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. A substantial portion of the assets of these persons is located outside of the United States. As a result, it may be difficult to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons. It may also be difficult to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors who are not resident in the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets are located outside of the United States.
Further, it is unclear if original actions predicated on civil liabilities based solely upon U.S. federal securities laws are enforceable in courts outside the United States, including in the Cayman Islands. Courts of the Cayman Islands may not, in an original action in the Cayman Islands, recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state of the United States on the grounds that such provisions are penal in nature. Although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, courts of the Cayman Islands will recognize and enforce a foreign judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction if such judgment is final, for a liquidated sum, provided it is not in respect of taxes or a fine or penalty, is not inconsistent with a Cayman Islands’ judgment in respect of the same matters, and was not obtained in a manner which is contrary to the public policy of the Cayman Islands. In addition, a Cayman Islands court may stay proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere.
Our Board of Directors may decline to register transfers of Ordinary Shares in certain circumstances.
Our Board of Directors may, in its sole discretion, decline to register any transfer of any ordinary share which is not fully paid up or on which we have a lien. Our directors may also decline to register any transfer of any share unless (i) the instrument of transfer is lodged with us, accompanied by the certificate for the shares to which it relates and such other evidence as our Board of Directors may reasonably require to show the right of the transferor to make the transfer; (ii) the instrument of transfer is in respect of only one class of shares; (iii) the instrument of transfer is properly stamped, if required; (iv) in the case of a transfer to joint holders, the number of joint holders to whom the share is to be transferred does not exceed four; (v) the shares conceded are free of any lien in favor of us; or (vi) a fee of such maximum sum as Nasdaq may determine to be payable, or such lesser sum as our Board of Directors may from time to time require, is paid to us in respect thereof.
If our directors refuse to register a transfer they shall, within one month after the date on which the instrument of transfer was lodged, send to each of the transferor and the transferee notice of such refusal. The registration of transfers may, on 14 days’ notice being given by advertisement in such one or more newspapers or by electronic means, be suspended and the register closed at such times and for such periods as our Board of Directors may from time to time determine, provided, however, that the registration of transfers shall not be suspended nor the register closed for more than 30 days in any year.
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Item 4. Information on the Company
A. History and Development of the Company
Farmmi, Inc. (“FAMI”), is a Cayman Islands holding company incorporated on July 28, 2015. We conduct our operations in China principally through our foreign-owned PRC subsidiaries. FAMI’s registered office is at the office of Sertus Incorporations (Cayman) Limited, Sertus Chambers, Governors Square, Suite # 5-204, 23 Lime Tree Bay Avenue, P.O. Box 2547, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. Its registered office’s telephone number is +1.345.745.5100. Farmmi, Inc.’s agent in the U.S. is Shangzhi Zhang, with the address of 33202 Havers Drive, Cary, NC 27518.
FLS Mushroom, a major operating entity of our Company prior to its divestiture in September 2022, previously was under mushroom business sectors of Forasen Group, which is controlled by Ms. Yefang Zhang and Mr. Zhengyu Wang. Forasen Group (initially named as Lishui Forasen Green Industry Group) was established in April 2003. Forasen Group’s primary business areas used to include rubber trading, mushroom sales, biomass power generation, and marketing.
Mr. Wang and Ms. Zhang decided to spin off various business sectors from Forasen Group and to develop them separately. Since 2010, they began to spin off bamboo-based charcoal businesses by establishing several offshore and domestic companies and re-organizing related operating entities in China. In 2011, they established Tantech Holdings Ltd. which completed an IPO and listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market in March 2015. Since 2015, Ms. Zhang and Mr. Wang started to spin off the edible fungi business from Forasen Group by establishing several offshore companies and re-organizing related operating entities in China. In July 2015, FMI was established. After a series of transactions, Forest Food is indirectly controlled by FMI and no longer has any common relationship with Forasen Group. FMI also controls some other companies which develop our e-commerce business of edible fungi products and other agricultural products. In February 2018, FMI completed its initial public offering and its Ordinary Shares commenced trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “FAMI.”
November 1994: our Chairwoman and CEO Ms. Yefang Zhang and her husband Mr. Zhengyu Wang founded Lishui Jingning Huali Co., Ltd. in China to start edible fungi business by selling dried edible fungi.
|May 2003: Forest Food was established in China.|
|December 2006: We passed ISO 22000 certification.|
|December 2008: We passed QS certification.|
|August 2010: We passed BRC certification.|
|March 2011: FLS Mushroom was established in China.|
|July 2015: Farmmi, Inc. was incorporated in the Cayman Islands.|
|August 2015: Farmmi International was incorporated in Hong Kong.|
|December 2015: Nongyuan Network was established in China.|
|December 2015: Suyuan Agriculture was established in China.|
|May 2016: Farmmi Enterprise was established in China.|
|July 2016: Farmmi Technology was established in China.|
|December 2016: Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com/www.farmmi88.com) began operating.|
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February 2018: FAMI completed its initial public offering and its Ordinary Shares commenced trading on Nasdaq under the symbol “FAMI.” We raised approximately $6 million in net proceeds after deducting underwriting commissions and the offering expenses payable by us.
|May 2018: Farmmi Food started operation in China.|
|August 2018: Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com/www.farmmi88.com) was restructured as two online stores: Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com) targeting centralized procurement and Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com) targeting direct retail for consumption.|
|November 2018: FAMI completed a $7.5 million private placement (the “Private Placement”) with an institutional investor. The securities sold by the Company in the Private Placement consisted of (a) senior convertible notes with an aggregate principal amount of $7,500,000 (the “Notes”) which are initially convertible into an aggregate of 1,198,084 of the Company’s Ordinary Shares at the rate of $6.26 per share and (b) warrants to purchase an aggregate of 800,000 Ordinary Shares at an exercise price of $6.53 per share (the “Investor Warrants”). We also issued warrants to purchase an aggregate of 119,808 Ordinary Shares for an exercise price of $7.183 per share to the placement agent (the “Placement Agent Warrants,” and together with the Investor Warrants, the “Warrants”).|
|December 2018: in connection with the Private Placement, FAMI filed a registration statement with the SEC on Form F-1 (Registration No. 333-228677), which was amended by Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 to Form F-1 filed with the SEC on February 4, 2019 (as amended, the “F-1 Registration Statement”). The F-1 Registration Statement was declared effective by the SEC on February 12, 2019.|
|March 2019: Lishui Farmmi E-Commerce Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi E-Commerce”) was established under the laws of the PRC. Nongyuan Network and Suyuan Agriculture owns 98% and 2% of interests in Farmmi E-Commerce, respectively.|
|November 2019: in connection with the Private Placement, FAMI filed a post-effective registration statement with SEC Amendment No. 1 to the F-1 Registration Statement on Form F-3 (the “Post-Effective Amendment No. 1”). The Post-Effective Amendment No. 1 was declared effective by the SEC on December 3, 2019.|
|December 2019: Xinyang Wang, as the new shareholder of Nongyuan Network, signed a series of VIE agreements (the “Xinyang Wang VIE Agreements”) with Nongyuan Network and Suyuan Agriculture.|
|May 2020: to clarify the legal effect of the Original VIE Agreements (as defined below) and to sustain the effective control over Nongyuan Network by the Company, Nongyuan Network and Suyuan Agriculture signed a series of documents with the effective date of December 10, 2019.|
September 2020: at the 2020 annual shareholder meeting of the Company, the shareholders approved an ordinary resolution that the authorized share capital of the Company be increased from 20,000,000 ordinary shares of $0.001 par value each to 200,000,000 ordinary shares of $0.001 par value each.
|December 2020: we closed Farmmi Liangpin Market, including the mobile application and the WeChat mini program.|
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|On March 22, 2021, Farmmi entered into an underwriting agreement (the “Underwriting Agreement”) with Aegis Capital Corp. (the “Underwriter”), pursuant to which the Company agreed to sell to the Underwriter, in a firm commitment public offering (the “Offering”), 6,469,467 ordinary shares (the “Shares”) of the Company, par value $0.001 per share, for a public offering price of $1.15 per share. The Company received approximately $6.6 million in net proceeds from the Offering after deducting the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company. The Company also granted the Underwriter an option for a period of 25 days to purchase an additional 970,419 ordinary shares at a price of $1.15 per ordinary share solely to cover over-allotments. On April 9, 2021 the over-allotment was exercised and the net proceeds the Company received is approximately $1.0 million. Pursuant to the terms of the Underwriting Agreement, the Shares were offered pursuant to a registration statement on Form F-3 (File No. 333-254036) which was filed with the Securities Exchange Commission on March 9, 2021 and was declared effective on March 16, 2021. A final prospectus relating to and describing the terms of the offering has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 23, 2021.|
|In April 2021, FAMI incorporated Farmmi (Hangzhou) Ecology Agriculture Development Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Ecology”) in China through its wholly-owned subsidiary Farmmi International Limited.|
|April 7, 2021, Farmmi incorporated Zhejiang Farmmi Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Biotechnology”), through its former wholly-owned subsidiary Hangzhou Suyuan Agriculture Technology Co., Ltd.|
|On April 28, 2021, Farmmi entered into an underwriting agreement (the “Underwriting Agreement”) with Aegis Capital Corp. (the “Underwriter”), pursuant to which the Company agreed to sell to the Underwriter, in a firm commitment public offering (the “Offering”), 140,000,000 ordinary shares of the Company, par value $0.001 per share, at a public offering price of $0.30 per share. Under the terms of the Underwriting Agreement, the Company granted the Underwriter a 45-day option to purchase up to an additional 21,000,000 ordinary shares solely to cover over-allotments, if any. The over-allotment option was exercised in full at a price of $0.30 per share on April 30, 2021. The Company received approximately $43.9 million in net proceeds from the Offering (including the net proceeds from the exercise of the over-allotment option in full), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company. The Offering was conducted pursuant to the Company’s registration statement on Form F-1 (File No. 333-255387) declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 28, 2021, an abbreviated registration statement on Form F-1 pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) (File No. 333-255590) effective upon filing on April 28, 2021, and a prospectus dated April 28, 2021, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company.|
|In May 2021, Farmmi Ecology incorporated Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Supply Chain Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Supply Chain”) in China.|
|In July 2021, at the 2021 annual shareholder meeting of the Company, the shareholders approved an ordinary resolution that the authorized share capital of the Company be increased from 20,000,000 ordinary shares of $0.001 par value each to 600,000,000 ordinary shares of $0.001 par value each.|
|In July 22, 2021, shareholders approved the 2021 Share Incentive Plan (the “2021 Plan”) and authorized the Company to reserve a total of 40,000,000 unissued ordinary shares (the “Shares”) for issuance under the 2021 Plan.|
|On August 26, 2021, Suyuan Agriculture has changed its name to Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd., and its capital was increased to RMB50 million.|
|We incorporated Zhejiang Yitang Medical Service Co., Ltd. on September 7, 2021.|
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On September 13, 2021, Farmmi entered into an underwriting agreement (the “Underwriting Agreement”) with Aegis Capital Corp. (the “Underwriter”), pursuant to which the Company agreed to sell to the Underwriter, in a firm commitment public offering (the “Offering”), 93,111,717 ordinary shares (the “Shares”) of the Company, par value $0.001 per share, for a public offering price of $0.22 per share, and 275,150,000 pre-funded warrants (the “Pre-funded Warrants”) to purchase 275,150,000 shares (the “Warrant Shares”), for a public offering price of $0.2199 per Pre-funded Warrant to those purchasers whose purchase of ordinary shares in this offering would otherwise result in the purchaser, together with its affiliates and certain related parties, beneficially owning more than 4.99% (or, at the election of the holder, 9.99%) of our outstanding ordinary shares immediately following the consummation of this Offering. The Pre-funded Warrants have an exercise price of $0.0001 per share. The Pre-funded Warrants were issued in registered form under a warrant agent agreement (the “Warrant Agent Agreement”) between the Company and TranShare Corporation as the warrant agent. The Company received approximately $74.2 million in net proceeds from the Offering after deducting the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company. Each warrant is exercisable for one ordinary share of the Company. During the year ended September 30, 2021, 275,150,000 warrants were exercised for 275,114,477 common stocks of the Company for a total proceed of $19,050. Any securities offered and sold in the Offering (including the Warrant Shares) will be issued pursuant to the Company’s shelf registration statement on Form F-3 (File No.: 333-254036) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on March 9, 2021 and declared effective on March 16, 2021 (the “Registration Statement”), as supplemented by the preliminary prospectus supplement dated September 13, 2021 relating to the Offering and filed with the SEC on September 13, 2021 and a final prospectus supplement dated September 13, 2021.
|We incorporated Zhejiang Yiting Medical Technology Co., Ltd. on September 17, 2021.|
|We incorporated Farmmi (Hangzhou) Health Development Co., Ltd. on September 17, 2021.|
|We incorporated Zhejiang Farmmi Medical Health Technology Co., Ltd. on September 18, 2021.|
|We incorporated Zhejiang Farmmi Holdings Group Co., Ltd. on September 18, 2021.|
On September 27, 2021, we acquired Jiangxi Xiangbo Agriculture and Forestry Development Co. Ltd. (“Jiangxi Xiangbo), from a third party, Ganzhou Tengguang Agriculture and Forestry Development Co., Ltd., for a total price of RMB70 million (approximately $10.9 million). The acquisition transaction was completed on October 27, 2021. Together with Jiangxi Xianbo, its 100% controlled subsidiary Yudu County Yada Forestry Co., LTD became a part of us.
On September 27, 2021, we signed as a sale and purchase agreement to acquire 100% interest in an entity, Guoning Zhonghao (Ningbo) Trade Co., Ltd.., from a third party, Ningbo Guoning Zhonghao Technology Co., Ltd., for a total price of RMB5,000 (approximately $776). The acquisition transaction was completed on December 1, 2021.
On September 27, 2021, Farmmi Agricultural and Hangzhou Dawo Software Co., Ltd., the only shareholders of Zhejiang Forest Food Co., Ltd. (“Zhejiang Forest Food”), entered into a Share Transfer Agreement to transfer all of their equity in Zhejiang Forest to Lishui Zhongjun Technology Co., Ltd., an unrelated party, for a total price of RMB18,200,000 (approximately $2.82 million). The divestment was completed on October 1, 2021. We received the whole proceed of disposal on November 5, 2021. After this transfer, Zhejiang Forest has been divested from the Company.
On November 5, 2021, we signed an Equity Transfer Framework Agreement to purchase 124,590,064 shares of Shanghai Jiaoda Onlly Co., Ltd. (“Jiaoda Onlly”), a Shanghai Stock Exchange listed company under the ticker 600530.SH, from former shareholders of Jiaoda Onlly for approximately RMB 509 million (approximately US$71.6 million).
|Lishui Yilong Enterprise Management Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Nongyuan Network, was incorporated on January 10, 2022.|
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Lishui Yifeng Medical Health Technology Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Nongyuan Network, was incorporated on January 10, 2022.
|Lishui Yifeng Yilong Medical Technology Development Partnership (Limited Partnership) was formed on January 19, 2022.|
|Lishui Yitang Shangke Medical and Health Technology Partnership (Limited Partnership) was formed on January 19, 2022.|
On January 27, 2022, Yitang entered into an agreement to assign its obligations and rights under the Equity Transfer Framework Agreement with respect to Jiaoda Onlly to Shanghai Shijie Decoration Design Engineering Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Yunjian Industrial Development Co., Ltd., two unrelated parties.
|On February 15, 2022, we issued 10,000,000 Shares under the 2021 Plan to certain employees.|
|On February 15, 2022, we cancelled the reserved but unissued 30,000,000 Shares under the 2021 Plan and released the reservation of such Shares.|
On February 25, 2022, we entered into a securities purchase agreement with certain investors in a private placement transaction, pursuant to which Farmmi agreed to sell to the investors an aggregate of 30,000,000 ordinary shares at USD$0.20 per share for USD$6,000,000. On February 28, 2022, Farmmi closed the Transaction. There were 597,780,383 ordinary shares outstanding after the issuance of the shares purchased.
|We incorporated Zhejiang Farmmi Ecological Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd. on May 27, 2022.|
On May 31, 2022, Farmmi effected a share consolidation of its authorized shares including issued and unissued ordinary shares at the ratio of one-for-twenty-five. As a result of the share consolidation, the Company’s 600,000,000 authorized shares of a single class, par value of US$0.001 each, were consolidated into 24,000,000 shares, par value of US$0.025 each.
We formed a wholly-owned subsidiary in Canada, Farmmi Canada Inc. on July 13, 2022. Farmmi Canada is engaged in the production and sales of agricultural products, such as mushroom, as well as agricultural trade business in Canada and other international markets.
|We incorporated Zhejiang Suyuan Agricultural Technology Co., Ltd on July 25, 2022,|
On September 30, 2022, Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd., the then-shareholder of FLS Mushroom, entered into a Share Transfer Agreement and Supplementary Agreement to transfer all of the equity in FLS Mushroom to Zhejiang Jingcai Industrial Co., Ltd, an unrelated party, for RMB24.1 million. The divestiture of FLS Mushroom was completed following the closing of the transaction.
In November 2022, Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd formed a new subsidiary, Ningbo Farmmi Baitong Trading Co., Ltd. (“Farmmi Ningbo”). Farmmi Ningbo is engaged in the production and sales of agricultural products, such as mushroom, as well as agricultural trade business.
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B. Business Overview
We are a supplier of agricultural products. Our business has historically been focused on the processing and/or sales of a variety of mushrooms, edible fungi and other agricultural products. In the recent years, in response to the market demand, our product sales have more evenly divided among Shiitake mushrooms, Mu Er mushrooms, and bulk agricultural commodity trading such as cotton and corn bulk trading.
Our founders Ms. Yefang Zhang and Mr. Zhengyu Wang started their edible fungi business in November 1994 by establishing Lishui Jingning Huali Co., Ltd. They established our first Farmmi/Forasen entity, Forest Food, in May 2003. We established Farmmi Food, a new subsidiary under Farmmi Agricultural, in December 2017 and it started the operation in May 2018. Forest Food and Farmmi Food focus on export sales and domestic sales of small packages of our edible fungi, while FLS Mushroom, which was founded in March 2011, focused on the Chinese domestic market for big packages. Our business office is located in Binjiang district of Hangzhou city in Zhejiang. We have two processing factories in Lishui. Our raw materials are directly or indirectly provided by family farms from various counties of Lishui in Zhejiang along with other provinces in China.
We are headquartered in the edible fungi rich southwest of Zhejiang Province, in the city of Lishui. Zhejiang province, located in southeastern coastal China, is China’s eighth largest province in population in 2021according to the seventh census in China, with 65.4 million residents. As the first province in China without any counties in the poverty-county list of the central government, Zhejiang has become one of the wealthiest and most developed provinces in China. Its province-wide GDP of approximately RMB 7.35 trillion in 2021 placed it as the fourth highest in China in aggregate amount and fifth per capita.
Lishui is a prefecture-level city located in southwest Zhejiang province. Approximately 2.5 million residents live in the city, and city-wide GDP is approximately RMB 178 billion in 2021. Lishui’s primary industries include food processing, wood and bamboo production, ore smelting, textile, clothes making, construction materials, pharmaceuticals and electronic machinery. Lishui has cultivated edible fungi for almost 1,000 years. It is one of the major production areas of edible fungi in the southeastern China. Lishui produces approximately 0.6 million tons of edible fungi every year, contributing to 50% volume of Zhejiang Province. Lishui also has rich species of edible fungi, among which there are over 30 species of commercially cultivated mushroom.
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We sell most of our products to domestic distributors in China, which then sell in China and internationally. For the year ended September 30, 2022, we sold approximately 98.2% of our products in China and 1.8% outside mainland China, including in the U.S., Japan, Canada, and other countries or regions. In addition, we sell products online through our own e-commerce platforms, Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com) and Farmmi Liangpin Market (mobile application and mini program on WeChat; closed on December 31, 2020). We tested a few offline stores in Hangzhou, Zhejiang but closed them by March 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Our typical agreements with the distributors which sell the products in China, such as Yunmihui, provide that payment is due upon receipt of a value-added tax invoice, and the customer should make the payment by bank’s acceptance bill or wire transfer. Delivery is set at our factory, and the customer is responsible for the cost of transportation. Products are deemed to be accepted upon receipt unless the customer rejects the delivery. Our cooperation with other distributors which sell products in China is similar, except the delivery is set at the distributor’s warehouse. For new clients, we may require full payment before we deliver the products to them.
We supply mushroom products indirectly to foreign customers such as supermarkets through Chinese distributors. Our typical agreements with these Chinese distributors provide that payment is due upon receipt of a value-added tax invoice and a copy of bill of lading, and the Chinese distributor should make the payment by wire transfer. Our products are required to meet the exportation requirements. Delivery is set at a warehouse designated by the Chinese distributor, and we are responsible for the cost of transportation from our warehouse to the warehouse designated by the Chinese distributor. Products are deemed to be accepted upon receipt unless the foreign customers raise objections.
Product quality is always our main focus. We have established a food quality traceability system to trace and correct any possible quality issues in any step. We have also established a sound quality management system, and have obtained the BRC international food certification issued by Intertek Certification Ltd to certify we meet the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, and Food Safety Management System Certificate issued by China Quality Certification Centre to certify we meet the GB/T 27341-2009/GB 14881-2013 standard.
As of the date of this report, we hold over 100 registered trademarks related to “Farmmi”, “Farmmi Liangpin”, “Forasen” and “Puyangtang” in different applicable trademark categories in China.
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Edible Fungi (Edible Mushroom)
Edible fungi, or edible mushroom, is our major product category. Edible fungi are edible fruit bodies of several species of macrofungi. Edible fungi have high nutritional value. It generally has a high protein content, usually around 30 to 45% by dry weight. Almost all edible fungi contain eight kinds of amino acids essential to human nutrition. Protein contained in 1 kg of dried mushrooms is equivalent to protein in 2 kg of lean meat, 3 kg of eggs or 12 kg of milk. Edible fungi also contain a variety of vitamins and trace elements, polysaccharides, and other physiologically active substances, to promote human metabolism and enhance physical fitness. Besides the nutritional value, edible fungi also have medicinal values including wound-healing, immunity-enhancement, and tumor-retarding effects.
Mushroom Dish Models Presented at Qingyuan Mushroom Museum, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province, China
According to grand view research, the global mushroom market size was valued at US$50.3 billion in 2021, and is predicted to accrue earnings worth US$115.8 billion by 2030, is set to record a Compound Annual Growth Rate (“CAGR”) of nearly 9.7% by 2022-2030.
Edible fungi were traditionally harvested wild and were difficult to domesticate and cultivate. Cultivation of edible mushroom species has grown rapidly in recent decades. Most mushrooms have been cultivated on various species of hardwood trees. The procedure was to cut down the natural logs in the fall (after leaf fall) and inoculate them with Shiitake spawn within 15 to 30 days after felling. One breakthrough for this cultivation was the utilization of synthetic logs instead of natural logs. Composed of sawdust and supplemented with millet and wheat bran, synthetic logs may produce three to four times as many mushrooms as natural logs in one-tenth of the time. Environmentally controlled houses allow for the manipulations of temperature, humidity, light, and the moisture content of the logs to produce the highest possible yields. The major advantages of producing mushroom on synthetic logs rather than natural ones are the consistent market supply through year-round production, increased yields, and decreased time required to complete a crop cycle. Most of the mushrooms we purchase are grown in this manner.
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Most of the edible fungi produced by China is for domestic consumption. In 2018, the export portion of edible fungi was only 1.83% of the annual production in China. Edible fungi, especially Shitake mushroom and Mu Er have become important food source for the Chinese. In 2021, the total export amount of dried edible fungi in China was the largest among all the edible fungi, totaling $1.29 billion, accounting for 45% of the total export edible fungi amount.
In general, the consumption volume of edible fungi in China is growing. From 2006 to 2020, the edible fungi consumed by China market increased from 14,140,000 metric tons (approximately 31 billion pounds) to 40,614,231 metric tons (approximately 89 billion pounds).
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Figure 2006-2020 China Edible Fungus Market Consumption Volume and Growth Rate
Source: China Edible Fungus Association
The Belt and Road Initiative implemented by the Chinese government is expected to bring more opportunities to Chinese edible fungi industry. The Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative of jointly building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. Accelerating the building of the Belt and Road can help promote the economic prosperity of the countries along the Belt and Road and regional economic cooperation, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations, and promote world peace and development. It is a great undertaking that will benefit people around the world.
China Edible Fungi Association issued The Cooperation Proposal of Edible Fungi Industry along “The Belt and Road” Countries in April 2016. Countries along “the Belt and Road” all have a long tradition of consuming edible fungi. However, their planting technology has lagged behind and mainly focuses on Shuangbao mushroom and wild mushroom. With the Belt and Road Initiative, the edible fungi industry can be promoted, through strengthening communication, building new cooperation trend among the Belt and Road countries, and achieving the common development and prosperity.
E-commerce for Agricultural Products
E-commerce is the trading or facilitation of trading in products or services using computer networks, such as the Internet. There are different kinds of e-commerce business models: web portal model, online content provider, online retailer, online distributor, online market maker, online community provider and cloud application service provider. Our online stores are online retailers, which make profits by selling products made by the manufacturers on line.
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Although our online sales only accounted for about 4.6%, 13.51% and 15.11% of our total sales in the fiscal years 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively, we plan to continue investing in, and developing our e-commerce system because of e-commerce’s big business potential. By June 2022, China’s Internet users had reached 1.051 billion, increased by 19 million from December 2021, and the Internet penetration rate had reached 74.4 percent. One billion people are connected to the Internet, forming the world’s largest and most dynamic digital society. In December 2021, China’s online shopping users had reached 842 million, 59.68 million more than in December 2020, accounting for 81.6% of the total number of Internet users. By the end of2021, the market size of China’s e-commerce industry reached 42.3 trillion yuan, with a year-on-year growth of 19.6%.
Our e-commerce focuses on agricultural products. E-commerce of agricultural products is supported by Chinese policy. For example, on January 8, 2016, in the press conference of Guidance Opinion about Fusion Development of the Primary Industry, the Secondary Industry and the Service Industry by General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, National Development and Reform Commission of China said China will develop modern “Internet+” agriculture and e-commerce for agricultural products.
Currently we have the following major brands:
Our subsidiary Farmmi Food is certified and authorized to use the brand of Lishui Shangeng. Lishui Shangeng is a regional public brand signifying high-quality agricultural products in Lishui and other cities in Zhejiang. To receive the certification, the products must demonstrate a proper ecological agricultural environment and meet the strict requirements of "Three Products and One Indication" (pollution-free agricultural products, green food, organic agricultural products and geographical indications of agricultural products) through third-party evaluation and certification.
For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2022, we mainly process and/or sell four categories of agricultural products: Shiitake mushrooms, Mu Er mushrooms, cotton, corn, other edible fungi, and other agricultural products.
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The Shiitake (Xiang Gu in Chinese and Lentinula edodes in Latin) is a variety of mushroom that originated from Eastern Asia. Shiitake have many uses in the cuisines of East Asia. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sautéed in vegetarian dishes such as Buddha’s Delight. In Japan, they are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian soup called dashi, and as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes. As a potent immune-boosting mushroom, it has antitumor and antiviral properties, and can potentially lower blood pressure and cholesterol if consumed regularly.
Divided by the growing season, there are four kinds of Shiitake: spring mushroom, summer mushroom, fall mushroom and winter mushroom. We focus on winter mushroom which has the best quality and taste. Depending on the species, our Shiitake products include different varieties such as floral mushroom and Jinqian (“money”) mushroom. Depending on the shape, our Shiitake products include fungi in whole, Shiitake slices and Mu Er strings.
Mu Er (auricularia auricula-judae in Latin or also known as jelly fungi), is sometimes known as wood ear mushrooms, cloud ear, Judas ear or tree ear. It is a variety of mushroom that is dark brown to black and native to Asia and some Pacific islands with humid climates. It is usually sold in dried form, and needs to be soaked in water before use. It has little real flavor of its own and has slippery but slightly springy and crunchy texture. It is commonly found in “Hot and Sour Soup”, and also widely used in stir-fried dishes. Mu Er has potential medicinal properties. For example, it is believed that it can help with health issues by benefiting the lungs, stomach and liver if consumed regularly.
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Depending on the growing area, our Mu Er products include varieties from Zhejiang Mu Er and Northeastern Mu Er. Depending on the shape, our Mu Er products include Mu Er in whole and Mu Er strings. According to some clients’ requirements, we also provide washed Mu Er which is cleaner than normal Mu Er products after we soak dried Mu Er in water to make it flat, and remove the hidden impurities.
Other edible fungi
Based on the clients’ needs and the supply, we also process and sell other edible fungi from time to time, such as bamboo fungi (Zhu Sun in Chinese), agrocybe aegerila (Cha Shu Gu in Chinese), pleurotus eryngii (Xin Bao Gu in Chinese), grifola frondosa (Hui Shu Hua in Chinese), coprinus comatus (Ji Tui Gu in Chinese) and hericium erinaceus (Hou Tou Gu in Chinese).
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Other agricultural products
Historically, we only sold green tea products in this category on our online store farmmi88.com/farmmi.com, and have stopped selling them in and since the six months ended March 31, 2018. In August 2018, we restructured farmmi88.com/farmmi.com to two different online stores: Farmmi Jicai (farmmi88.com) and Farmmi Liangpin Market (previously farmmi.com; later switched to mobile application and mini program on WeChat). Before we closed Farmmi Liangpin Market on December 31, 2020, we had over 400 kinds of products in Farmmi Liangpin Market. The online platform has helped diversify our product categories and expand our product sales. In June 2021, we started our bulk agricultural commodity trading business through Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Supply Chain Co., Ltd. and Zhejiang Farmmi Agricultural Science and Technology Group Co., Ltd.
We process and package all of the dried edible fungi on our own, and purchase and sell all the other agricultural products from other manufacturers or companies. Before we closed Farmmi Lianpin Market, there were three ways to sell other agricultural products. First, we may provide our packing materials or requirements to the manufacturers to package. After packaging, these manufacturers may deliver the products to us, or may deliver the products to our clients on behalf of us. No sales have been made through this method. Second, we sold other companies’ products on our Farmmi Liangpin Market. For example, we sold crabs provided by Panjin Zhongtong Food Ltd. Co. (“Zhongtong”). Zhongtong is a company based in Panjin, Liaoning Province. When there was an order of the crabs at our Farmmi Liangpin Market, we informed Zhongtong which would deliver the crab product directly to the client. We made our profits from the difference between the selling price and the purchase price offered by these manufacturers. The third is our bulk agricultural commodity trading business, we use our well-developed channels to purchase certain agricultural commodities from upstream third-party suppliers and then sell them directly to third-party customers. Our bulk product trading volumes are typically adjusted depending on the seasonality of agricultural products and market demand. Corn and cotton have accounted for a large percentage of our bulk commodity trading operations. We expect to make product and volume adjustments as needed in our agricultural commodity trading operations in response to customer demand and market condition. After the closing of Farmmi Liangpin Market, online sales through Liangpin Market are no longer available.
Raw Materials and Suppliers
As a supplier of edible fungi products, our raw materials primarily include Shiitake mushrooms, Mu Er, and other bulk dried edible fungi. We typically enter into a standard form of agreements with our suppliers, including major suppliers and family farms, which set forth the terms and conditions of the transactions, subject to specific quantity and price terms to be set forth in subsequent purchase orders. The purchase agreements provide that we and the suppliers are independent parties. These companies and family farms supply dried edible fungi materials to us based on our purchase orders. We then further process the edible fungi.
JLT and QNMI are two supplier companies, both near Lishui City where our processing facilities are located. They are co-operatives representing family farms which grow and roughly process edible fungi. JLT and QNMI themselves do not have any facility and do not process any fungi. JLT and QNMI are established by the local family farms as wholesale agents. Such arrangements allow these family farms to better share resources such as procurement information and enjoy the advantage of scale.
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The family farms supplying raw materials to us, through JLT/QNMI or directly, are responsible for growing, harvesting, dehydrating, roughly sorting and selecting edible fungi. They dehydrate the fungi until the desired moisture content is reached so fungi can be stored for a long time. They then sort the dried fungi roughly so that most of the fungi supplied to us fall within the size range required by us. The family farms also select the dried fungi to get rid of obvious impurities such as dirt.
Most of our family farm suppliers conduct their initial and rough sorting manually. Some family farms may use machines to conduct advanced sorting so the percentage of the dried fungi within the size range required by us is higher. We pay higher purchase prices to these family farms because they can save us certain time on initial sorting. In addition, while most of our raw materials are fungi in whole, if our clients need Shiitake slice products, we will purchase dried Shiitake slices to process at our own facilities. If our clients need Mu Er string products, we will use our own equipment to cut the dried whole Mu Er into strings.
After we receive the raw materials, we are responsible for further sorting to get the fungi in specific size range and further selecting to get rid of more impurities. For Shiitake, we also further dehydrate it to ensure the uniform level of dryness of our products. For Mu Er, we conduct additional procedures such as burning hair to increase the quality of the fungi products. We then package and sell the dried edible fungi products. For more details about our procession, please see “Our Processing Workflow of Shiitake” and “Our Processing Workflow of Mu Er” later in this section.
According to the purchase agreements, the suppliers accept the guidance of both the local governmental agencies and the technical organization regarding mushroom industry, and produce mushrooms in compliance of the standardized specifications. The suppliers record the whole production process in accordance with the traceability requirements. The products provided by the suppliers should comply with the relevant quality standards and our requirements for the species and the specifications. During the term of the purchase agreements, we are entitled to examine the farms, conduct sampling inspections of the products, and require the suppliers to correct any problems at any time.
Most of our edible fungi sales are made through customers’ pre-orders. After we receive a customer order, our procurement personnel communicate with the suppliers we have selected and place the purchases of the dried fungi at suppliers’ sites. The raw materials are shipped to our factory which then processes them. Most of the time these suppliers can provide enough raw materials for us to fill our clients’ orders. We also keep stock of raw materials from time to time before we receive orders to meet new clients’ demand. For large orders, if our contracting suppliers are not able to provide enough raw materials, we may purchase additional raw materials from local farmer markets.
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Previously, we purchased all raw materials directly from various family farms. In March 2016, some of the family farms we cooperated with established JLT and QNMI as co-operatives to represent local family farms. On April 1, 2016, we entered into a three-year framework purchase agreement with each of JLT and QNMI. The framework purchase agreements were renewed for another three years in April 2022 upon expiration. Since April 2016, we switched to JLT and QNMI for the majority of our purchases from individual family farms. Therefore, since the year ended September 30, 2016, JLT and QNMI, have been our major suppliers related edible fungi. For the years ended September 30, 2022, 2021 and 2020, JLT and QNMI contributed 20.9% and 9.3%, 29.7% and 14.7%, and 50% and 40% of our edible fungi raw material supplies, respectively. The allocation of our total purchases vary from time to time between these two major suppliers depend upon the specific needs of our clients at certain point of time. JLT is located in Jingning County and QNMI is located in Qingyuan County. These two counties, are famous for growing different kinds of edible fungi due to their unique geographic characteristics. As such, we order different types of mushrooms from these two companies. For instance, when we need flower Shiitake, we order it from JLT since Jingning County is famous for growing flower Shiitake. When we need Dengwai Shiitake, we order it from QNMI since Qingyuan County is famous for growing Dengwai Shiitake. Therefore, their respective supplies to us vary from time to time. As the quantity of different kinds of edible fungi ordered by our clients vary, the quantitative allocation of supplies among JLT, QNMI and other family farms changes.
In addition, we cooperate with a number of family farms which may provide dried edible fungi directly to us. We have a few employees who provide technology support to the family farms. These family farms are located in Zhejiang Province, Henan Province, Hubei Province, Jiangxi Province, Fujian Province and Jilin Province.
Among the family farms that we cooperate with, 5 are located in Qingyuan County, Lishui, Zhejiang Province. One of our major suppliers, QNMI, is located in Qingyuan County. We have also set up a branch in Qingyuan to have a closer access to the raw materials. Qingyuan is the birth place of artificial cultivation of Shiitake dating back to about 1,000 years ago. The county of Qingyuan is located in a warm monsoon climate which is considered ideal for the cultivation of Shiitake. The county was officially named by Chinese Government as “The Town of Lentinula Mushroom in China” in 1994. Qingyuan Shiitake is a China national recognized “protected geographical indication product”. A geographical indication product is a product named by the geographical location because of its premium quality and unique production location. The value of the public brand “Qingyuan Lentinula Mushroom” was estimated as RMB4.926 billion (approximately $0.77 billion) in 2022. The brand was the No. 1 public brand in edible fungi category in China for eight years in a row.
In accordance with our clients’ needs, we also purchase Shiitake from other areas in China because different areas cultivate different kinds and sizes of Shiitake.
We mainly purchase and process our Mu Er from Longquan County, Lishui, Zhejiang Province. Longquan has over 1,800 years of history of cultivation of Mu Er. Longquan was awarded as “The Hometown of Mu Er in China” by China Edible Fungi Association in 2010. Longquan Mu Er usually grows from October to May.
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In accordance with our clients’ needs, we also purchase and process Mu Er from Northeastern China. Mu Er from Northeastern China is famous for its premium quality. Northeastern Mu Er usually grows from July to November.
Examination of Family Farms
We use the following checklist to examine the family farms before we sign the purchase agreements with them:
equipment on site
marks on site
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How many varieties are cultivated and how big production volume is (at least 10 acres or 100,000 artificial logs)
How good equipment are, including ventilating equipment and watering equipment
How well management standards are enforced
Contamination situation of the farm and the neighboring environment
If cultivation dent is provided
Space and sanitary conditions
Whether or not harvested fungi are processed briefly before storage
Whether or not there are enough storage room and/or freezer can be facilitated
How well farms keep track of the cultivation process
Our supplier farms are responsible for complying with legal requirements and our quality standards. First of all, they need to produce edible fungi in compliance of PRC law about food safety. Our purchase agreements with family farms also provide that the family farms shall accept the guidance of local governmental agencies of the industry and the technical organization, and shall produce the products in compliance of the standardized specifications. Second, the family farms should record the whole production process according to the traceability requirements. The products provided by the family farms should comply with the relevant quality standards and our requirements for the species and the specifications. We have the right to exam the farms, conduct the sampling inspection, and require the suppliers to correct the problems.
In order to enter into the trading of agricultural products in bulk, the Company signed a framework agreement on agricultural products purchase and sales cooperation with Ningbo Caixiang Trading Co., Ltd. on May 25, 2021. Ningbo Caixiang Trading Co., Ltd. is located in Ningbo City, a port city, and is the gathering and distributing place of agriculture products in bulks in the Yangtze River Delta region, with rich resources of agricultural products. The contract with Ningbo Caixiang Trading Co., Ltd. expired in May 2022, and the two parties renewed the agricultural product supply agreement in May 2022, with a validity of 3 years. The agreement agreed that Ningbo Caixiang should provide the Company with agricultural products of no less than RMB200 million yuan (including but not limited to cotton, corn, etc.) and pay part of the payment in advance to lock up the goods.
On April 1, 2020, the Company signed a framework cooperation agreement with Lishui Zhelin Trade Co., Ltd. (“Zhelin Trade”), which is valid for 4 years. Zhelin Trade is located in the agricultural product distribution center in Liandu District - Southwest Zhejiang Agricultural Trade City, which has convenient logistics and timely agricultural product information. Therefore, the cooperation agreement stipulates that Zhelin Trade will process and deliver edible mushroom products on behalf of Zhelin Trade, and the Company is required to make advance payment to ensure the timeliness of goods supply and delivery.
Due to the increase of edible fungus business and preventing untimely supply of goods arising from natural disasters, the Company signed a cooperation agreement with Suizhou Huayu Ecological Agriculture Co., Ltd. on August 1, 2022. Suizhou Huayu is located in Suizhou City, Hubei Province. Suizhou City is the main production area of edible fungi in central China. The cultivation of edible fungi in this area is mainly family farms and cooperatives. Advance payment is required to ensure supply, The timely and stable supply of goods and the quality of goods can be guaranteed by paying the suppliers in advance.
Many competitors of the Company and other large buyers go there to source their supplies. Family farms and co-operatives traditionally request advance payments to secure supplies. By making advance payments to these suppliers, the Company is also able to lock in a more favorable price for premium quality than would be available in the open market. Allowance for doubtful accounts of $3,258 and nil was made for certain advances to suppliers as of September 30, 2022 and 2021.
The Framework Agreements only provide general guidelines. Actual prices are negotiated and agreed upon in individual purchase orders, and are typically set at market prices based on the quality grade and quantities determined and agreed with the suppliers. Prices may vary based on market demand and crop condition etc. The Company can generally secure the premium quality raw material supplies at prices slightly higher than the typical market prices for average quality raw materials. The quality of supplies must meet standardized specifications of both the mushroom industry and standards set by the Company.
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Dried Edible Fungi Production Process
The process of producing dried edible fungi products consists of the following steps, which we and/or our suppliers perform, as indicated:
1. Family Farms Plant and Harvest Edible Fungi
Family farms plant edible fungi based on our standards and harvest them.
2. Family Farms Process Edible Fungi Roughly
Family farms then dehydrate the edible fungi until the desired moisture content is reached. They then sort the dried fungi roughly to have most of the fungi fall within the size range required by us. The family farms also select the dried fungi to get rid of obvious impurities such as dirt. Some family farms may use machines to conduct advanced sorting to provide higher percentage of dried edible fungi within the size ranges required by us. In addition, if our clients need Shiitake slice products, we will purchase dried Shiitake slices and process them. If our clients need Mu Er string products, we will use our own equipment to cut the dried whole Mu Er into strings.
3. Our Company Further Processes the Dried Edible Fungi
After the dehydration process is completed, our supplier farms supply the dried edible fungi to us directly or through supplier companies (currently only JLT and QNMI) for processing. After we receive the raw materials, we are responsible for further sorting to get the fungi in specific size range and further selecting to get rid of more impurities. For Shiitake, we also further dehydrate it to ensure the uniform level of dryness of our products. For Mu Er, we conduct additional procedure such as burning hair to get the products with higher quality. We then package, sell and market the dried edible fungi products.
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Our Processing Workflow of Shiitake
We develop and manufacture our Shiitake products using the following workflow:
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Our Processing Workflow of Mu Er
We develop and manufacture our Mu Er products using the following workflow:
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Prior to the divestiture transaction in September 2022, most of the sales of FLS Mushroom were made to China Forest. Sales increased from July to September because the client places significantly more orders with FLS Mushroom during this period. From December to January, there was usually a peak because people spend more on food including edible fungi to prepare for Chinese New Year celebrations. From February to March, the sales of FLS Mushroom typically decreased because of the conclusion of Chinese New Year holiday.
Farmmi Food focuses on producing and selling small packages of dried edible fungi. The sales peak is from December to January, as customers spend more on food including edible fungi to prepare for the New Year holidays.
Our Quality Control
Quality control is an important aspect of our work and ensuring quality at every stage of the process has been a key driver in maintaining and developing brand value for the Company.
We apply the following national standards to our following products:
All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives
March 27, 2015
General Administration of Quality Supervision,
August 7, 2008
Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s
Republic of China and Standardization
Administration of the People’s Republic of
Other edible fungi
National Health and Family Planning
December 24, 2014
Commission of the People’s Republic of China
State Administration for Market Regulation and
National Standardization Administration of the
People’s Republic of China
Standardization Administration of The People's Republic of China
November 21, 2012
Standardization Administration of The People's Republic of China
November 21, 2012
Before we purchase dried edible fungi from companies and family farms, our experienced procurement managers examine the physical characters of the samples. After the initial examination, they bring back the samples to our own laboratory and third-party inspection agents perform sophistic examinations.
Quality Control System
We are enforcing HACCP (the hazard analysis critical control point) plan for dried Shiitake and dried Mu Er. In addition, we are enforcing food safety manual, SSOP (sanitation standard operating procedure), GMP (good manufacturing practices), food defense plan, and a series of procedure documents.
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In addition, we utilize a food source tracking system. This system helps us obtain detailed information of every step in the process that our raw materials/products are delivered from the farms to the clients. Our staff performs on-site quality certification at every step.
Processing of dried
fungi products by
sorting, drying and
BRC Certificate of
Standard for Food
packing in plastic
2021.9.24 to 2022.10.1
Processing of Dried
Dried Black Fungus
2021.9.30 to 2024.9.29
Quality Control Over Family Farms
We apply quality control and examine all family farms before we sign purchase agreements with them. The purchase agreements also provide quality requirements to the family farms. See “Item 4. Information on the Company - B. Business Overview - Raw Materials and Suppliers - Examination of Family Farms.”
Quality Control in Processing Factory
We have a selecting workshop and a packing workshop. The packing workshop is further divided into an internal packing area and a box packing area to avoid possible contamination.
The workers in the workshops are required to wear uniforms, masks, over sleeves, inner caps and outer hats.
The picking process of the edible fungi repeats twice to three times. For each time, the workers need to examine the whole fungi, identify and dispose of foreign matters such as leaves, fibers, hair and so on.
For Mu Er, we use additional process of burning mushroom filaments to refine the quality. After the workers finish the check and examination of the Mu Er on the conveyor belt, when it is falling to the oscillating screen, a fire device in front projects fire so the impurities which are hard to remove by hand such as mushroom filaments can be burned. In accordance with some clients’ requirements, we also soak dried Mu Er in water to make it flat, and remove the hidden impurities.
Quality Control Group
We have a quality control group. At different stage, we have different employees in the quality control group to conduct quality control.
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We have established and used a traceability system since 2006 for our products of edible fungi.
First, we use mark cards to designate the vendors which provided the materials. The vendors include the raw materials suppliers such as third-party family farms, JLT and QNMI which represent local family farms, and the suppliers which provide supplementary materials such as package boxes, package bags, plastic trays, air bubble films, and desiccants.
The mark cards state the name of the materials, production lot number or production date, quantity, production location, warehouse receipt date and so on. With the mark cards, we are able to trace the materials to the specific vendors.
Second, we classify the status of the products as “to be inspected,” “qualified,” and “disqualified.” For each status, we use different marks and put the products at designated areas.
Third, each of the following departments keep track of the records of the products, client names, quantity, weight and lot numbers: sales department, production department, packaging department, procurement department, and quality inspection department. With the records, we are able to trace the products to the specific clients. If any client submits claims for any product quality issues, the quality control department will check the problematic procedure, and trace the production records according to the product name, lot number, packing slip and so on to find the responsible department and personnel.
We distribute our products mainly through offline distributors and online stores. We sell most of our products to domestic distributors in China, which then sell in China and internationally.
Most of our products are sold in mainland China. The chart below is a breakdown of total revenues by geographic market for the years ended September 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
For the years ended September 30,
Mainland China markets
International Markets and Customers
The majority of our export items are dried Shiitake and dried Mu Er. They are sold to international markets through a related party, Forasen Group (until March 2018), and unaffiliated trading companies in China. Currently we export dried edible fungi including dried Shiitake and dried Mu Er. In the fiscal year 2022, approximately 87.5% of our export revenues are from Taiwan (for purposes of this report, Taiwan, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong) and the Macao Special Administrative Region (Macao) are excluded from the references to mainland China or PRC), Japan, Middle East and Canada (including approximately 44.5% from Taiwan, approximately 10.3% from Japan, approximately 10.1% from middle east, and approximately 22.5% from Canada). The remaining approximately 12.5% of our export revenues are from other countries.
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The following is a list of selected international customers, their respective nations, the distributors and the brands.
Maruhan Co., Ltd
Rhee Bros., Inc.
Europe (England and the Netherlands)
Processing manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants
Processing manufacturers, supermarkets and restaurants
A few examples of our OEM products are below:
Through domestic trading companies, we have supplied our products to Rhee Bros. Inc. for twenty years to support them in their sales of edible fungi products, primarily to Asian supermarkets in the United States.
Through domestic trading companies, we have supplied products to Loblaws supermarkets for nineteen years. By obtaining a BRC certification, which certifies we meet the leading food safety standard associated with UK retailing, we established systems to ensure we can provide edible fungi products that satisfy these high standards.
Our cooperation with Maruhan began fifteen years ago. Maruhan’s wholesale offerings to supermarkets in Japan carry strict product quality and safety requirements, and we are pleased to continually satisfy their expectations.
Since the beginning of 2018, we have signed multiple sales contracts with Qingdao Gabsan Trading Co., Ltd., a Chinese trading company affiliated with H-MART Group, a supermarket chain which operates Korean supermarkets in the U.S., Canada, Europe and India.
We plan to continue increasing our export sales and develop more export customers. We intend to further investing our resources in promoting overseas market, including attending more export fairs and developing cross-border e-commerce.
Domestic Markets and Customers
Products from six categories of our products are mostly sold in China. Our domestic sales used to depend heavily on our major clients, Yunmihui and Senjiayamei. Yunmihui and Senjiayamei contributed to 31.2% and 15.6% of our total sales for the years ended September 30, 2022, respectively. China Forest contributed to 63.8% of our total sales for the years ended September 30, 2021. China Forest and China Tree Seed contributed to 76.97% of our total sales for the year ended September 30, 2020.
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Our typical agreements with the distributors which sell the products in China, such as Yunmihui, provide that payment is due upon receipt of a value-added tax invoice, and the customer should make the payment by bank’s acceptance bill or wire transfer. Our products are required to meet national requirements for agricultural products for the products involved. Delivery is set at our factory, and the customer is responsible for the cost of transportation. Products are deemed to be accepted upon receipt unless the customer rejects the delivery. The price and quantity of products are agreed upon at the time an individual sales contract is signed. Our cooperation with other distributors which sell products in China is similar.
We also sell our mushroom products to restaurants and cafeterias. In addition, we provide our mushroom products to local specialty stores from time to time, such as Lishui Department Store and Zhejiang Liujianyuan Local Specialty Store. Since August 2019, we began testing a few brick-and-mortar stores using our Farmmi Baba brand in Hangzhou. In August 2019, we have also launched the Farmmi Baba Yipinlv Organic Farm Project with a third party. The farm covers more than 18 acres and is located in Tongxiang City of Zhejiang Province. The farm focuses on enabling domestic and foreign consumers to better experience and enjoy high quality agricultural products. In addition to consumption, the farm will serve as a base for the popular immersive entertainment experience called "Agritainment" or farm-based tourism.
We also have online sales in China. In the fiscal years 2022, 2021 and 2020 online sales accounted for about 4.6%,13.51% and 15.11% of our total sales, respectively. We have expanded our products sold to include non-fungi agricultural products, such as crabs and oranges. They are sold through our online store Farmmi Liangpin Market before we closed it. For details of our online distribution channels, see “Item 4. Information on the Company - B. Business Overview - E-Commerce of Agricultural Products.”
E-Commerce of Agricultural Products
E-commerce has big business potential in China. From June 2016 to June 2022, the number of Chinese netizens increased 45.44%, from 709,580,000 to 1,051,000,000. From June 2019 to December 2020, Chinese users of internet shopping increased 31.61%, from 639,000,000 to 841,000,000. From 2016 to 2021, Chinese e-commerce industry market scale increased 53.6%, from RMB 27.54 trillion to RMB 42.3 trillion. We see a trend toward online demands and sales of products of all kinds, including food products like ours. As a result, beginning in July 2014, we opened online stores on well-known third-party e-commerce sites like taobao.com, Tmall.com and JD.com to capitalize on this trend and meet customers who might not have otherwise found our products.
In March 2016, we began to develop our own e-commerce site, Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com/www.farmmi88.com). It sold our edible fungi products and tea products of a third-party manufacturer to Chinese customers. Most of the customers are the centralized procurement personnel who buy bulk edible fungi products on behalf of restaurants and cafeterias.
In August 2018, we restructured Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com/www.farmmi88.com) to two online stores: Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com) and Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com). Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com) sold our edible fungi products under Forasen brand and Farmmi Liangpin brand. Farmmi Liangpin Market (initially www.farmmi88.com; later switched to mobile application and mini program on WeChat) sold our edible fungi products under Farmmi Liangpin brand and Puyangtang brand, as well as other agricultural products we purchased from third party manufacturers. In connection to the reconstruction, we closed our stores at JD.com and Tmall.com in March 2018 and June 2018, respectively. We also closed our Taobao store in 2019.
In May 2019, we tested Farmmi Baba, a new e-commerce platform operated as a mini program on WeChat, to provide bulk orders of vegetables. Due to inactive business, we have terminated its operation.
We closed our Farmmi Liangpin Market on December 31, 2020 and closed Farmmi Jicai on January 15, 2023 because the revenues generated from the two online stores did not justify the costs and expenses.
We operate our e-commerce websites through Nongyuan Network. Nongyuan Network previously obtained its ICP license for www.farmmi.com and www.farmmi88.com as required by the then-existing government regulations. The ICP license is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to permit China-based websites to operate in China. The ICP license is no longer required for our e-commerce sales operations after April 2022.
Our e-commerce websites are indirectly managed by Farmmi Enterprise. We plan to use Farmmi Enterprise as our overall E-commerce platform. Our business development project of an e-commerce platform of agricultural products through Farmmi Enterprise has been approved by Hangzhou High-tech Industrial Development Zone.
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Our online sales have been generated by (1) the centralized procurement personnel who buy bulk edible fungi products on behalf of restaurants and cafeterias and (2) direct retail to individual consumers. Most of our offline sales are wholesale and a small percentage is the sales to the centralized procurement personnel who buy bulk edible fungi products on behalf of restaurants and cafeterias. We also established a few offline retail stores in Hangzhou, Zhejiang but closed them by March 2020. The percentages of our online sales and our offline sales were as below:
For the years ended September 30,
1. Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com; closed on January 15, 2023)
We launched Farmmi Liangpin Market (farmmi88.com/farmmi.com), the predecessor of Farmmi Jicai, in March 2016, and it started generating sales in December 2016. After the restructuring in August 2018, Farmmi Jicai served members of the old Farmmi Liangpin Market. It has had over 40,000 registered members, among whom over 7,500 members have ordered products. A majority of the members of this online store was our long-time clients, including restaurants and cafeterias. The rest members were individual consumers.
Previously we set it as a platform to sell our edible fungi products and other agricultural products manufactured by third parties. The tea products were the only products we actually sold under the other agricultural products category. From the six months ended March 31, 2018, because the tea supplier raised the unit price of its tea products, we stopped selling them and have only been selling our edible fungi products.
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Characteristics of Farmmi Jicai:
1) Customers/members’ information security. We kept the profile information of our registered members confidential. We also encrypted some of the important information.
2) Customers’ reviews of the products. All the reviews of our customers to the products were shown on the website of Farmmi Jicai. We followed up with customers for potential products problems.
2. Farmmi Liangpin Market (initially www.farmmi88.com; transferred to mobile application and mini program on WeChat; closed on December 31, 2020)
We began to operate this new Farmmi Liangpin Market since August 2018 when we reconstructed Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com/www.farmmi88.com) to two online stores: Farmmi Jicai (www.farmmi88.com) and Farmmi Liangpin Market (www.farmmi.com). We identify Farmmi Liangpin Market as a platform of pesticide-free, organic and green agricultural products before we closed it.
Characteristics of Farmmi Liangpin Market:
1) Geographical indication agricultural products. We signed a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Beijing Jiangqiao International Media Co, Ltd. (“JQ Media”). JQ Media filmed and produced Tastes of China, a documentary introducing geographical indication agricultural products in China (“Tastes of China Products”) through 7 episodes aired on CCTV, the predominant state television broadcaster in China. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company has signed the supply agreements with three suppliers of the Tastes of China Products. Besides these three products, we have built the purchase relationship regarding hundreds of geographical indication agricultural products.
2) Diversity of the products. Besides our own edible fungi products under “Puyangtang” brand and “Farmmi Liangpin” brand, Farmmi Liangpin Market offered seven categories of products before we closed it: (1) rice, oil and spices, (2) tea, (3) snacks, (4) raw and fresh food, (5) liquor and drink, (6) convenient food, and (7) health food. It also sells the raw products planted and harvested by the farmers in the less developed rural areas to help the farmers increase revenues and to provide the customers fresh food.
Before we closed Farmmi Liangpin Market, the customers could use mobile application or mini program on WeChat to access it.
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Methods of Competition and Competitive Position
1. Sophisticated quality control system. Product quality is always our major focus. We enforce a series of quality standards for our edible fungi products, adopt sound quality control system and have been awarded various quality certificates. In addition, our workers must follow specific quality control procedures in the factories. In addition, our traceability system allows us to trace and correct any quality issues. See “Item 4. Information on the Company - B. Business Overview - Our Quality Control”.
To ensure the highest quality, we have implemented systems designed to subject us to stringent oversight of our production practices and quality control systems:
2006: ISO22000 food safety management system certification.
2010: BRC British Retail Consortium certification for food safety.
2010: Implementation of Health Standards Operational Procedures.
2012: Implementation of dry mushrooms and dry black fungi hazard analysis and critical control points (“HACCP”) plan.
2012: Implementation of food safety manual and food protection plan to reduce or eliminate food safety hazards, to prevent harm to public health, and to ensure the health of consumers.
2. Established supplier relationships. We have strong relationships with our significant suppliers to ensure access to relatively high-quality dried edible fungi. We have built long time and stable relationship with the family farms that we cooperate with. Our employees provide technology support to the family farms in need. Our procurement price is usually higher than the market price. Some of the family farms have cooperated with us for more than 10 years. They provide steady supply of raw materials to us.
3. Stable and experienced factory employees. Our founders started to conduct edible fungi business twenty years ago, and they have attracted many loyal employees. Among our current less than 80 factory workers, there are over 20 employees who have followed Ms. Zhang and Mr. Wang for over 10 years. They are great assets to us by being loyal to the company and possessing rich experience in the factory.
4. Favorable location. Lishui is an important mushroom resource base, giving our company access to an abundance of high quality, affordable raw materials. We purchase many of our Shiitake from Qingyuan of Lishui, a certified place of origin of Shiitake and most of our Mu Er from Longquan of Lishui, the town of Mu Er in China.
1. Low barrier to entry. We believe the barrier to entry in our industry is relatively low. Although we believe we distinguish our company from competitors on the basis of quality, to the extent our customer base focuses heavily on price, many of our competitors can provide products at relatively low prices, affecting our profit margins as we seek to compete with them.
2. Lack of experience in E-commerce. We have devoted resources to our decision to build, develop and reconstruct our online stores. We have closed Farmmi Liangpin Market due to unsuccessful operation. Farmmi Jicai is the only online store we have right now. It is not well known by consumers yet, and we do not have rich experience in e-commerce operation. As a result, we have no guarantee that we will be successful in Farmmi Jicai. If we do not manage it effectively, our business prospects could be impaired.
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Mushroom cultivation in the Lishui area of China has a history going back 1,800 years, and the region is famous throughout China for producing some of the finest quality, best flavored mushrooms available. Our region is known as the “Hometown of Mushrooms in China” and the “Hometown of Mu Er in China.” Since 2005, our region has also held China’s Qingyuan Mushroom Festival, and Lishui has established a mushroom museum to introduce the long history of mushroom planting and mushroom eating in China. Therefore, it is not surprising that some of our biggest competitors are also in the Lishui area.
One of our key competitors is Zhejiang Jingning Nature Food Co. Ltd. (“Jingning”), also in Lishui. Founded in 1987, Jingning has a facility in Lishui that covers approximately 18,000 square meters and fixed assets worth more than RMB 1 billion. Jingning’s products have been awarded for quality and technology, and its brand has been recognized as a “Famous Brand of Lishui”.
Another competitor is Zhejiang Tianhe Food Co., Ltd. (“Tianhe”), which is also based in Lishui. Founded in 1979, Tianhe operates four facilities in Zhejiang for processing and packaging fresh and dried products, as well as a retail site in Shanghai. Tianhe offers a variety of specialty products, including in particular, fresh mushroom products. Tianhe’s operations include 9 acres of land, 16,000 square meters of production facilities and 4,000 square meters of refrigeration facilities.
Awards and Recognition
Famous Trademark in Zhejiang Province (Forest)
2010 - 2011
Model Enterprise of Food Safety in Liandu Area, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province
Zhejiang Exportation and Importation Enterprise of Quality and Integrity
2012 - 2013
Model Enterprise of Food Safety in Liandu Area, Lishui City, Zhejiang Province
Famous Brand Products in Zhejiang (Forest Shiitake and Mu Er)
2016 Famous Brand Products in Zhejiang (Forasen)
2016 Famous Brand Products in Lishui
Healthy Products with Premium Quality in China’s Longevity Village (authorized to use “Longevity” mark for three years)
Listed Brand selected by China Edible Fungi Business Website and Edible Fungi Market
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Yangtze River Delta Famous Food Honor
Top Ten Excellent Enterprise by Zhejiang Edible Fungi Association
China Mushroom Industry Development Boom Observation Unit by China Edible Fungi Association
Eco-premium agricultural products by Lishui government (Black Fungus and dried mushrooms).
The first batch of assured consumer company in Liandu District
Key agricultural leading enterprises in Liandu District, Lishui City
Sunshine factory in Liandu District, Lishui City
Joined the National Restaurant Association.
Business Development Efforts
Our business development efforts focus on developing e-commerce platforms, web-based products and applications of new technologies.
We believe technological innovations will help our Company achieve its long-term strategic objectives.