Global investors have been eyeing China’s pig farming market since the last round of pork price fluctuations back in 2007, when prices went up significantly due to a supply shortage after the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome outbreak.[...]Private equity arms of foreign investment banks started their large-scale investments into Chinese pig farms back in 2007. Towards the middle of that year, Deutsche Bank Group’s DWS Investments established the DWS Global Agribusiness Fund with investment in China’s breeding businesses. Not long after that, in 2008, Goldman Sachs also announced investments of US$200 million to US$300 million in acquiring a dozen pig farms in China’s Hunan Province and Fujian Province. The U.S.-based investment bank is also among the investors in two of China’s largest meat processing companies, Shuanghui and Yurun Group, and obtained distribution and marketing support from them for its invested pig farms.Investor interest in pig farms has been further upgraded this year as a result of the significant pork price increases. In June, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. – along with its subsidiary meat processing companies Itoham Foods Inc. and Yonekyu Corp – teamed up with one of China’s largest food manufacturers COFCO for an RMB10 billion-pig breeding joint venture (JV). The three Japanese companies have agreed to subscribe for a 33 percent share in the new JV. The cooperation marks a serious step by Mitsubishi into China’s meat market, expanding the company’s fame from heavy industry to the dining table of the Chinese consumer.In addition to the Japan’s Mitsubishi, the Thailand-based Charoen Pokphand Group has kicked off the construction of a pig farm with a production capacity of 500,000 hogs every year in Shandong Province, according to Reuters. The company is also building a farm that can produce 1 million pigs every year in Guangdong Province and another one with similar production capacity in Henan Province.
It was a wedding the guests would never forget. Everybody of consequence in the village had been invited to a banquet to celebrate the marriage of the son of one of the wealthiest families. Fifty tables groaned under a lavish spread of dumplings, steamed chickens, pork ribs, meatballs, stir fries, all of it exceptionally delicious, guests would later recall.But about an hour into the meal, something seemed to be wrong. A pregnant woman collapsed. Old men clutched their chests. Children vomited.Out of about 500 people at the April 23 banquet in Wufeng, 286 went to the hospital. Doctors at the No. 3 Xiangya Hospital in nearby Changsha, capital of Hunan province, blamed pork contaminated with clenbuterol, a steroid that makes pigs grow faster and leaner. Consumed by humans in excess quantity, it can cause heart palpitations, nausea, convulsions, dizziness and vomiting."It was as though he was poisoned," said a villager named Dai, whose husband was hospitalized for five days.