Rising incomes and a growing Chinese middle class have led to demand shifts toward more and better quality food. For instance, Chinese diets have changed to incorporate more meat, with average per capita meat consumption reaching 55 kilograms. Even so, that’s still just half of the average per capita meat consumption in America, implying there is plenty of room for Chinese demand to grow. At the same time, however, China’s arable land has been shrinking, closing in on the minimum 300 million acres that the government believes are needed to feed China’s population.
The growing appetites of Chinese consumers have led to investment opportunities in the agribusiness industry across most market segments, from soft commodities to seeds and food processing technologies. As the government pushes forward rural land reforms and moves toward modern, industrial-scale farming, China will need more technology and know-how, much of it residing in the United States. Moreover, rising concern over food safety in China has led companies to seek more vertical integration from the farm to logistics and sales. A maturing Chinese agribusiness market should present increasing opportunities for global investors across the value chain.
Muyuan Foods is mainly a hog breeder and processor that primarily focuses on the domestic China market. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the Word Bank Group, is a major shareholder in the company with $10 million of planned equity investment. The IFC has also offered Muyuan assistance in seeking future global opportunities.