US beef proves a big hit with con­sumers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The first batch of US beef that re-en­tered the China mar­ket after a 13-year ban has been pop­u­lar, de­spite its costly price. The im­ported US beef, in­clud­ing prime sir­loin, filet and rib eye steak, was sold at su­per­mar­kets and on e-com­merce plat­forms.

Sam’s Club China, a high­end re­tailer of Wal-Mart Inc, be­came the first off­line re­tailer to sell fresh US beef. Sam’s Club China started to sell US beef at its stores in Bei­jing on June 27, and it has since run out of stock.

Air­lifted to China from ranches in Ne­braska, the grain­fed beef was vac­uum packed and shipped by cold chain trans­porta­tion dur­ing the whole jour­ney.

Sam’s Club China said the sec­ond batch of US beef will ar­rive in China after some time.

In July and Au­gust, Sam’s Club will start sell­ing US beef at its out­lets na­tion­wide, and Wal-Mart Inc did not dis­close any spe­cific plans to sell US beef at its su­per­mar­kets in China yet.

Chi­nese on­line shop­ping web­site Tmall.com, which is backed by Alibaba Group Hold­ings Ltd, has also started to sell US beef. It said 400 grams of fresh sir­loin steak sells for 208 yuan ($30.6) on Tmall.com, and 300 grams of filet steak has a price tag of 228 yuan.

In the United States, ev­ery hun­dred­weight (45.4 kilo­grams) of beef is sold for $116 to $126, mean­ing ev­ery kilo­gram of beef is sold at 17 yuan to 19 yuan, ac­cord­ing to a fore­cast of the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

Since June 20, Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties started to lift a 13-year ban and al­low el­i­gi­ble US beef to be im­ported into China, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment of the General Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Qual­ity Su­per­vi­sion, In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine of China.

China is cur­rently the fastest-grow­ing mar­ket for beef con­sump­tion glob­ally, and the im­ported beef mainly comes from Aus­tralia, Ar­gentina, Brazil and Uruguay. China’s do­mes­tic beef mar­ket has a 10 per­cent de­mand gap that needs to be ful­filled by im­ported sup­pli­ers.

Michael Fin­u­can, general man­ager for in­ter­na­tional mar­kets at Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia, said: “Aus­tralia com­petes in many global beef mar­kets with the US. We be­lieve our many years of trad­ing in China have built strong re­la­tion­ships with the in­dus­try, and we will be able to con­tinue to have a strong business here.”

“Aus­tralia is fo­cused on work­ing with our cus­tomers to meet their spec­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments. Aus­tralia is able to sup­ply a wide range of prod­ucts that suit many sec­tors in the mar­ket from high-end restau­rants and su­per­mar­kets to fam­i­lies.”

price for 400 grams of fresh sir­loin steak on Tmall.com

FRED DUFOUR / AFP

Cooks cut US beef dur­ing a pro­mo­tional event in Bei­jing over the week­end.

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