South American suppliers are building a customer base in the Asian country, with Argentina doubling its beef exports in 2018.
China has increased its beef imports during 2018 passing through the ceiling of 1 million tonnes for the first time, according to MLA analysts. This makes the Asian country the world's largest beef market in terms of volume and the trend is expected to continue in the next years.
Also, in the last 12 months, sheepmeat imports have grown by 28% to a record 319,000 tonnes swt, with product from Australia and New Zealand up 28% and 29% respectively.
Still, the beef market is where the competition is fierce, with South American suppliers setting a strong foothold in China.
Brazil beef exports to this market are up 63% compared with 2017, Argentinian beef exports are up 109% and Uruguay 12%. Australia has managed to increase its beef exports in the Chinese market by 49%, while New Zealand's are up by 39%. "These growth trends reflect growing demand from wealthy households for premium imported meat", explained the analyst.