Brazilian meat producer Marfrig announced today (11 April) that it will form two joint ventures in China through its subsidiary Keystone Foods.

The company said the moves will allow it to commercially explore opportunities to supply food products and meet the growing demand for distribution in the Chinese market.

Keystone foods will hold a 45% stake in COFCO Keystone Foods Supply Chain Investment Co., which will explore business opportunities in food logistics and distribution services in China and involve a total investment of US$252m over 10 years.

Marfrig said the joint venture will combine the local market knowledge of COFCO with the experience of Marfrig and Keystone Foods in food distribution and the development of international clients to create a “leading multi-temperature” logistics company in China. COFCO and Keystone Foods have been “developing” their “successful partnership” since 1990.

The project will include the construction of six distribution centres, transportation fleets and technological platforms in strategic cities, including Beijing and Shenzhen, as well as Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenyang and Wuhan.

Marfrig will hold a 60% stake in its second joint venture with poultry firm Chinwiz. The the venture plans to implement a vertically integrated poultry operation in China. The two companies plan to invest some $57m in the venture.

The venture will initially have the capacity to process some 200,000 birds a day and be able to supply 50% of the raw material needs of Keystone’s processing unit in China.

Keystone will use the knowledge gained from managing similar vertically integrated operations in the US, while Chinwhiz will bring its experience in the local agro-industry to build an integrated chain with bio safety and social responsibility.

The meat processor said the venture should bring improved cost visibility, guaranteed supply, improved food safety and socially responsible production.