May 25, 2022
Marked growth in China's oligopolistic aquafeed market
At 65.49 million tonnes, China's 2020 aquaculture output accounted for more than 60% of global production.
The country's rapid aquaculture development fueled its aquafeed industry's growth. eFeedLink statistics show that its aquafeed output exceeded 20 million tonnes in 2019; by 2021, it expanded to over 23.3 million tonnes.
The Chinese aquafeed market comprises ordinary aquatic feeds and ‘specialised' aquatic feeds. There were 1,700 aquafeed producers in 2021 in China — of which only about 660 made specialised aquafeeds. Seventy are specialised in the production of aquatic concentrated feed and premixes, while the rest produced merely compound feed.
The number of aquafeed producers has not changed much in recent years. Nevertheless, the Chinese feed industry remained competitive.
In 2021, there were 162 large animal feed producers, with a combined total output of more than 200,000 tonnes in China. Only about a third of these were aquatic feed producers. Additionally, large aquafeed mills have a combined output of over 15 million tonnes, accounting for two-thirds of aquatic feed production.
Among the 570 aquafeed factories, 470 were owned by a handful of larger enterprise groups, which produced more than 12 million tonnes of aquafeed per year. The rest were large-scale producers with a combined yearly output of 2.5 million tonnes.
Evidently, China's aquafeed industry has the characteristics of an oligopoly.
In 2021, the number of larger feed producers expanded to four, from only two in 2019. The combined output of these four producers reached nine million tonnes, accounting for 38.62% of China's aquatic feed production.
In 2019, the output of these four companies was 7.51 million tonnes, accounting for 34.56% of Chinese aquatic feed production. Of these companies, Haid Group was in the top position in terms of production volume.
The four larger producers, together with 14 other (smaller) major producers, produced over 5.28 million tonnes of aquafeed last year, accounting for 22.66% of China's total output.
Going forward, more larger producers are expected to emerge in the coming years. Producers, like Aohua and Hengxing in Guangdong, can easily exceed one million tonnes within the next two years.
Overall, China's aquafeed production is expected to grow further in the coming years, with compound feed set to expand more rapidly than other feed types. That said, the utilisation rate of compound feed in Chinese aquaculture has not yet reached its optimum level.
- Shi Tao, eFeedLink