China’s top private food & beverage companies of 2019

The list of the 2019 China Top 500 Private Enterprises has been published and I have extracted those whose core business is in the food and beverage industry. You can compare the changes with the same list of 2014.

Rank Company Core product Region
40 Yili dairy Inner Mongolia
45 Tongwei meat Sichuan
70 Daohuaxiang liquor Hubei
79 Shuanghui meat Henan
89 Herun cereal processing Zhejiang
93 Xiwang maize processing Shandong
106 Bohai soy processing Shandong
133 Weiwei soybean milk Jiangsu
140 Jinluo meat Shandong
144 Wellhope meat Liaoning
155 Wudeli flour Jiangsu
173 Xiangchi soy starch Shandong
214 Huaze liquor Hunan
248 Nongfu Spring mineral water Zhejiang
250 Dali bakery Fujian
282 Liyuan cooking oil Guangxi
312 Xulong fish Zhejiang
321 Haitian seasoning Guangdong
336 Zhucheng Waimao meat starch Shandong
353 Hengxing seafood Guangdong
365 Longda meat Shandong
384 Fulaichun beverages Shandong
399 Jinmailang instant noodles Hebei
404 Sanxing cooking oil Shandong
424 Yihai Taizhou soy processing Jiangsu
446 Jinpai liquor Hubei
453 Feihe dairy Liaoning
461 Gaojin meat Sichuan
469 Junlebao dairy Hebei
473 Jiannanchun liquor Sichuan
486 Huatai leisure food Anhui
489 Tieqi Lishi poultry Sichuan

Some of these companies have been mentioned in various posts, indicated by the links. Regular readers will, on the other hand, miss more than a few of the big names. However, note that these are privately operated enterprises; not state owned. However, this list does reflect an intriguing event: of the two dairy giants from Inner Mongolia, Yili and Mengniu, Yili started out as a state owned enterprise that was privatised through a management buy-out, while Mengniu, once China’s most successful private enterprise, became a wholly owned subsidiary of state owned COFCO.

Regional perspective

When we look at the regions, Shandong stands out as the number one with 8 companies. This makes sense, as that is China’s top food province and the home of Yantai, China’s unofficial food industry capital. Sichuan is runner up with 4, which indicates that these companies are quite evenly distributed over the country. A region that strikes me as disappointing is Guangdong. This province is known as China’s most entrepreneurial region, but this apparently does no lead to larger private enterprises. The Cantonese prefer to keep things small, so easier to manage.

Product perspective

A sorting according to core business shows that meat is the top industry with 7 companies, followed by soybean processing with 6 and cereal processing with 6. In this respect, the list is more concentrated than on the regional aspect. Most of the producs fall in the category processed primary produce. Apparently, more sophisticated food processes are less suitable for private investment in China.

Eurasia Consult Food knows the Chinese food industry since 1985. Follow us on Twitter.

Eurasia Consult Consulting can help you embed your business in Chinese society.

Peter Peverelli is active in and with China since 1975.

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