CHINESE interests have made another large Australian beef supply chain acquisition – this time at the premium end of the market for a substantial grazing property near Scone and its elite Fullblood Wagyu breeding herd.
China’s Dashang Group has bought the Bishop family’s respected Kuro Kin Fullblood and crossbred Wagyu breeding herd and the 3500ha heavily-improved and highly-productive Wooton property where the herd is based, in the tightly-held Scone district in the northern Hunter Valley.
Publicly-listed Dashang Group* is one of China’s largest supermarket and department store retailers, operating 300 supermarkets and department stores across the country. Based in the northern port city of Dalian, the company also recently opened the first of a planned series of ‘Australian flagship’ retail stores, selling only Australian beef, plus complementary wines and other premium items.
The cattle and land acquisition is clearly designed to secure a premium beef supply chain out of Australia, and create some significant points of difference for Dashang’s retail business.
The deal was struck as an off-market transaction, directly between the buyer and seller. Settlement has already taken place.
Beef Central asked Dashang’s Australian general manager Michael Wang why the company decided to invest in the supply chain as it has, rather than simply procure premium Australian Wagyu beef from existing exporters.
“It’s primarily about providing a secure source of supply, for the future,” he said.
“It allows us, also, to provide our customers with a comprehensive farm-gate to plate story about the premium product they buy, because we are directly part of the supply chain. Provenance is especially important in China, and especially in a high-quality, expensive item like Wagyu beef,” he said.
“A lot of other Chinese companies make claims over the origin of their Australian beef, but we will be actively engaged, as producers.”
The current tight supply of Australian Wagyu product was also a contributing factor.
Mr Wang confirmed that the total supply chain focus would include establishing relationships with Australian lotfeeders specialising in Wagyu feeding, and China-eligible export processors, to complete the supply chain.
Dashang’s Australian operations are conducted through its Australian entity Australia Aulong Auniu Wang Pty Ltd. Last year