Joyvio CEO steps down on health grounds as company books Q1 2021 loss

Published on
May 4, 2021

The chairman and CEO leading Chinese salmon distributor Jia Wo Agricultural Development Co. (Joyvio) has resigned for health reasons.

The firm told investors at the beginning of the traditional Labor Day holiday on 1 May that Tang Jie is leaving the firm to take care of personal health issues.

Tang was central to the company’s goal to increase production at its Chilean salmon farmer Australis Seafood – which the company purchased in 2018 for USD 920 million (EUR 763.6 million) – from 50,000 metric tons (MT) in 2019 to 100,000 MT in 2020 – a goal the company said it has now achieved.

However, Joyvio – which also produces and imports fruit products – said its goal of steady profitability remains elusive. The firm said it lost CNY 156 million (USD 23.4 million, EUR 20.2 million) in the first quarter of 2021, with revenue at CNY 1.15 billion (USD 172.5 million, EUR 149.5 million). In 2020, the company lost CNY 713 million (USD 106 million, EUR 92.6 million) on revenue of CNY 4.52 billion (USD 698.3 million, EUR 580.6 million), an increase of 32 percent over 2019. Joyvio blamed the poor profitability on higher transportation costs and lower salmon prices caused by the economic impact of COVID-19. But the company told investors in its recent announcement it believed the worst impacts of the COVID-19 crisis had now passed.

Joyvio has sought to capture demand among the middle-class in China by promoting salmon as a functional food for babies, office workers, and health-conscious consumers. To that end, it launched a chain of stores in China and, in 2020, it launched “Jia Wo Xian Sheng” to give the firm a single, unified brand on the main e-commerce platforms JD.com and Tmall, where Joyvio also markets imported red meats. Joyvio prominently displays its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification on its products in an effort to address food safety concerns in China.

Formerly known as Wanfu Biotechnology Hunan Agricultural Development Co, Joyvio Group is a subsidiary of Legend Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed technology-focused entity, which made a big bet on food distribution and production in the past decade to cash in on rising demand among China’s middle class.

Photo courtesy of Joyvio

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