China continues to import beef in by the boat load
China’s imports of beef are continuing to soar with plenty of opportunity for exporters to find business, according to Conor O’Sullivan, Trade Marketing Specialist in Bord Bia’s Shanghai Office.
He says for years, China’s beef industry was largely self-sufficient and closed off to foreign producers.
But with rising incomes and urbanisation, O’Sullivan says Chinese consumers’ appetite for beef is growing fast - faster than any other animal protein - and China’s producers cannot keep up.
“Annual per capita beef consumption is now over 6kg, and city dwellers (56pc of the population) are eating even more than that.
“Consumption will rise 1-2pc again this year and by 2020 the Chinese will be demanding over 9m tonnes of beef,” he says, from the current of 579,000t.
China’s domestic beef production target is 7.86m tonnes by 2020, but they are behind, according to O’Sullivan.
“Herd numbers are down after drought in key cattle-producing regions and increased culling in response to depressed dairy prices. Capacity will drop further this year, from 7.1 to 6.9m tonnes.
“This all adds up: last year, beef consumption outstripped domestic supply by more than 1.2m tonnes. Imports are making up the difference.