Date
17 December 2017
Last year around 10 percent of piglets born in China ate feedgrains produced by Anyou group. Photo: Xinhua
Last year around 10 percent of piglets born in China ate feedgrains produced by Anyou group. Photo: Xinhua

Taiwan expert becomes China’s pig feedgrain king

Last year 10 percent of the piglets born in China – 75 million – were “Anyou babies”. They ate feedgrains produced by a Taiwan company that has become the largest producer from the island in this sector.

In 2013, the Anyou Group had sales of 4 billion yuan (US$516 million), up 30 percent from the previous year. It has 35 plants in 26 provinces in the mainland, producing 1 million tons last year, more than 20 times the output of its mother factory in the Rende industrial zone on the outskirts of Tainan city.

For the first 10 days after birth, piglets drink the milk of their mother. Then, for 25 days, they are given the “weaning feedgrain” of Anyou which contains 10 different ingredients. “The first 35 days of their life are critical,” says Anyou founder and president Hung Ping, 64.

According to the website of Anyou Group, it is the largest producer of creep feed in the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to high sales of feedgrains for suckling pigs. Creep feeding is a method of supplementing the diet of young animals who are still nursing; it results in more rapid growth and a heavier weaning weight.

International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank, is considering a loan of US$20 million and equity investment of US$15 million in the company’s research unit at its mainland headquarters in Taicang, Jiangsu province.

“Its investment will help support the company’s expansion in its frontier region facilities and generate development impact in reducing piglet mortality rates and improving the livelihood of farmers in the frontier region,” IFC said on its website.

“Anyou focuses on low protein, ideal amino acids and net energy consumption, which can help to improve feed conversion ration and reduce the production of animal waste, such as manure, contributing to a reduction of the environmental impact of hog farms,” it said.

Anyou has followed the path of Kang Shi Fu and Want Want Group, minor firms in the Taiwan market which have become major players in the mainland, where their sales have long surpassed sales at home.

Anyou is the creation of Hung Ping, whose parents came from Wuhu, Anhui province. His father was a graduate of the Huangpu Military Academy, which trained many senior officers of the Kuomintang army.

After his parents moved to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, they set up a chicken farm in the southwest city of Changhwa. From a modest start, they developed the farm to over 30,000 animals, making it the largest chicken farm in the area.

Hung grew up feeding chickens and developed a profound interest in the subject.  He studied animal husbandry at Chung Hsing University, and on graduation, he went to work in a feedgrain factory in southern Taiwan.

In his spare time, he wrote a 400-page encyclopedia on the Taiwan feedgrain industry, which has gone through eight editions and 10,000 copies; it has been the standard work on the subject for the last 30 years.

It was only in 1992, when Hung was 42, that he established Anyou. Supply of his products quickly could not meet demand. Taiwan became the world’s second biggest exporter of pork, with eight million head and earnings of US$1.7 billion a year.

But, in March 1997, a foot and mouth epidemic broke out, killing 40 percent of the island’s pork population; Japan banned imports of its pigs. The crisis put severe economic pressure on Anyou.

At the same time, demand in southern China for higher-quality pork was growing, especially for the three million animals shipped every year to Hong Kong and Macau; they had to meet the rigorous health and quality standards set by the governments of both cities.

At the very moment Hung was under financial pressure, producers from Zhejiang and Hubei came to Taiwan and invited him to set up a joint venture feedgrain plant in Wuhan, to raise the quality of mainland pigs. He began his move into the mainland.

His products arrived at the right time. Made in large-scale factories, they replaced the feed provided by small producers. The profit margin on his high-quality feed is 5 percent, compared with 2 percent for that of traditional feed.

Hung is relying on the Anyou brand, built up over 15 years, to withstand the fierce competition in the mainland market. He would like to list shares on the Shanghai market in 2015 and set up a new research center, with more than 100 specialists, in Taicang.

He wants to increase the number of “Anyou babies”.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG 

Hong Kong-based journalist and author. He had worked as a correspondent for the South China Morning Post in Beijing and Shanghai.

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