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Aquaculture Company Floats Toward the Top

Crustaceans Economics +2 more

CHINA - Guanghe Aquaculture is trying to get its claws into a bigger chunk of the hairy crab market.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

Li Xiaodong, the company's chairman, said Guanghe has experienced rapid growth and become a leading company in the past decade through its technological advantage.

Technology has contributed at least 70 percent of his company's growth in the past few years, said Mr Li, who is also a Party congress delegate.

Guanghe is a privately-owned company in Panjin, Liaoning province, specialising in quality breeds for aquatic species, aquatic food products and related technological services. It has established its own brand of crab products.

Crab is a famous delicacy in Shanghai cuisine, for which people can spend hundreds of yuan for a small one. But 80 per cent of the market is dominated by products from Yangcheng Lake in East China's Jiangsu province as most of the crabs from Yangcheng are exported to Shanghai, Hong Kong and high-profit foreign markets.

That makes it hard for companies in other regions to gain a major market share.

But with technological innovation - such as raising crabs in rice paddies - Mr Li hopes his products become strong rivals to Yangcheng Lake crabs.

Crab species in the north have their own advantages, such as freshness, an early market and good taste, he said. "We will make further use of our advantage in technology to upgrade our products, and I'm confident our products can compete with Yangcheng Lake crabs in the future."

The success of crabs produced in Yangcheng Lake has offered valuable experience for his company to build its own brand, he added. The company has created sizable incomes for the households of more than 10,000 local farmers.

Worth more than 100 million yuan ($16 million), the company has 10 branches, a research and development center, a food processing factory and many cooperative aquaculture bases.

Mr Li's company has set a long-term development goal and aims to become a top enterprise in providing aquatic breeds, products and technological services.

"I hope I can realize that before my retirement," said the 47-year-old.

Mr Li said the rising demand for ecological products has brought new opportunities for his company. In the next few years, his company will promote several products with which it has leading-edge technology. "We're seeking an IPO in the next three or four years to enhance our financing capability," Mr Li said.

"We'll increase the market share with brand building."

Mr Li's company has undertaken some national projects related to aquatic breeding, bringing in many national-level scientists to work together. It has become a national crab and jellyfish breeding base and demonstration center for healthy aquaculture.

"The scientists can use our platform for their research, and we get our team trained during the process. It's a win-win situation," Mr Li said.

He added that compared with traditional research centers, his company has extra advantages such as its sensitivity to market moves and its cooperative platform with farmers, which allows them to easily use the latest scientific discoveries.