It had to happen sooner or later, of course. Nevertheless, news that China has overtaken the US as the world’s largest grocery market has profound implications for both food producers and retailers in the west. (continue reading…)
Western businesspeople — and well-heeled locals— looking for a memorable Shanghai restaurant to entertain could do worse than head down to Restaurant Martin, the brainchild of Basque chef Martin Berasategui which opened this week.
Located in a colonial building in Shanghai's Xujiahui Park, Restaurant Martin is an ambitious — some would say risky — attempt to export the famed cuisine of Spain's Basque Country region to China and adapt it to local tastes.
Bodisen Biotech is not the most obvious of China plays. Perhaps for that reason, it claims it is doing very well.
The three-year-old company makes “bio-fertiliser” and its revenue in the first six months of 2006 more than doubled to $27m. Net Income shot up 140%.
Bodisen promotes its “bio-fertiliser” as a better solution to one of China’s biggest problems, namely how to produce more food to feed its massive population. Much of China’s urban population of 500m depends on imported grains to support higher demand for meat.
In order to reduce dependence on foreign grains, China’s 750m farmers have been using more and more fertiliser to improve yield and planting multiple times in a season to increase grain output. The result has been a major increase in fertiliser consumption since 2000.
But the overuse of chemical fertilisers harms the soil, hence the growing interest in Bodisen’s products, which consist of minerals, vitamins and other ingredients that help loosen soil and improve plant yields by 10% to 35% .
Bodisen is headquartered in Shaanxi, China’s agricultural hub, and its two production lines, located in the Yangling area, have a capacity of 200,000 tons a year. The company, listed on both the American exchange and London’s AIM, is bullish about the future. Bo Chen, Bodisen’s founder and president, said:
The market opportunity in China for environmentally friendly fertiliser products remains largely untapped and Bodisen is well-positioned to benefit from China’s rising standards of living and consumers’ demand for natural and organically grown foods and produce.”
Because of their environmentally friendly credentials, Bodisen hopes its products will enjoy a premium price. They are based on “proprietary technologies” developed by Chen and a team of scientists in collaboration with local universities.
However, the company has not patented its technologies, so there is no real way of judging just how well Bodisen’s fertiliser reaches the parts that other natural fertilisers — also known as manure — do not.