New industry ranking shows China’s tilapia winners and losers

A new ranking of China’s tilapia companies puts Baiyang Aquatic Group at number one, followed by Zhanjiang Evergreen Aquatic Product Science and Technology Co Ltd and Hainan Xiangtai Fishery Co. in second and third place.

Compiled by the China Aquatic Products Promotion & Marketing Association (CAPPMA), a trade body which frequently advises the Chinese government on strategy for the seafood industry, the ranking is based on the brand value of the firms, as well as production value or volume. The ranking – which was compiled for government officials and industry executives - offers an indicator of which firms are best placed to tap into potential in the domestic market for tilapia filets and frozen, packaged offerings including ready meals.

Surprising perhaps is the lowly eight place ranking for Tongwei Co, a giant agricultural and feed conglomerate which has poured resources in recent years into its tilapia cultivation and processing operations.

The latest ranking also reinforces the clear dominance of Guangdong and Hainan provinces for the aquaculture industry, with firms like Xiangtai and Hainan Qin Fu in third and fourth place but also Hainan Sky Blue Ocean Foods Co ranked sixth among the 12 firms listed by CAPPMA.

Guangdong Guomei Aquatic Products Co, the tilapia arm of leading shrimp exporter Guolian makes it to the 11th spot. At sixth place meanwhile is Hainan Sky-Blue Ocean Foods Co which is a subsidiary of the Grobest Group, a leading Taiwanese producer of aqua feed and seafood with 25,000 tons of annual capacity for tilapia filets.
Hainan Xiangtai Fishery Co is a sister company of Hainan Eternal Spring Fisheries and operates and contracts large tilapia farms in Hainan. But the firm has complained in the past year of having to scale back production at its processing plants due to the shortage of fish of a consistent quality from some suppliers.

Based in tropical Nanning, the capital of Guangxi province, Baiyang has struggled to match investments in distribution and marketing with growth in sales: the company’s first half of 2015 saw the firm’s revenues rise 9.5 percent year on year to RMB 720 million but profits tumbled 63 percent on last year to a mere RMB 7.2 million. Production volumes were also down 7.5 percent year on year to 3.83 million tons.

With capabilities in seedlings and antibioticis, Tongwei in 2014 produced over 2.5 million tons of aquaculture feeds: this makes the firm the world's largest aquafeed manufacturer, having been the top player in the Chinese aquafeed industry for the last consecutive 22 years. But even more eye catching has been the firm’s bold entry into solar power: it wants to use its aquaculture presence to roll out vast installations of solar panels over fish ponds.

The strong showing by Evergreen is important given the firm is also one of China’s leading exporters of shrimp – it also suggests Evergreen is eclipsing its rival in its home base of Zhanjiang city in southern China.

China’s tilapia sector in 2014 struggled to maintain earlier export momentum: the species was in fourth place in a ranking of the country’s seafood exports by species, (at 9.47 percent of overall exports) on 403,000 tons worth USD 1.50 billion –down .20 percent and up 4.6 percent respectively.


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