China Focus


China is the world’s largest livestock producer and consumer. Livestock is a key sector in China's agriculture and a top priority target for rapid development and modernization in China's current 5-year plan.



Growth areas for business and employment

  • New animal genetics introduction and improvement of indigenous draught animals for meat and milk

  • Pasture production and processing

  • Feed formulation and production

  • Beef and dairy cattle husbandry

  • Goat and sheep dairy

  • Abattoir operations

  • Meat processing

  • Dairy products manufacture and equipment

  • Egg by-products manufacture

  • Organic dairy and organic meat production

  • Skins, hides and fiber processing

  • Technology development & transfer

  • Quality control and assurance systems

  • Intensive livestock production system

  • Re-surfacing depleted grassland in the north and west of China for grazing

  • Livestock waste treatment and management

  • Training

  • Import and export of livestock products

  • Modernization of Chinese livestock operations through JC/JV or acquisition


  China has more than 400 million cattle, sheep and goats, but pig and poultry meat and meat products are the most popular meat consumed in China.  However, the consumption of beef and beef products, fresh milk and dairy products such as yogurt is increasing rapidly and is strongly encouraged by the Chinese government as a means of improving national health - especially for the the elderly and the young through schemes such as the School Milk Program.

It is forecasted that China's consumption of meat and dairy products will continue to climb sharply due to rising population, strong growth in per capita income, improvement in domestic meat and dairy production systems, greater access to meat and dairy products in the western and central parts of China due to better transportation and distribution systems, shifting consumption patterns and lower prices.

As for other food plants and animals, the Chinese value freshness and prefer meat, milk and processed products from exotic animals and animals caught or raised in the wild.

China is essentially self-sufficient in meat and meat products except high-end products, offal and specific meat for re-processing for export.  However, it will be decades before China can sufficiently develop its dairy sector to satisfy the domestic demand for fresh milk and milk products such as yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese etc.  The United States is the primary supplier of milk and whey powders to China and the cheese and butter market is currently dominated by Australia and New Zealand. 

Poor food product quality, safety and unreliability are major problems for the Chinese consumers and have been plaguing China’s market access efforts.


Top 10 China dairies

Shanghai Bright, Inner Mongolia Yili, Shijiazhuang Sanlu, Heilongjiang Wandashan, Beijing Sanyuan, Inner Mongolia Mengniu, Heilongjiang Dairy, Xian Yinquao, Zhejing Junyao, Heilongjiang Jinxin

Major foreign dairy companies in China
Nestle, International Nutrition Corporation, Parmalat, Danone and Craft

Key poultry production provinces
Shandong, Sichuan and Guangdong

Key pork production provinces
Sichuan, Hunan, Henan, Shandong, Hebei, Anhui and Yunnan






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