Chinese meat processor Zhongpin is to build a US$58.5m production, R&D and training complex in its home city of Changge in the country’s Henan province.

The facility will add 100,000 metric tons of capacity for prepared pork products, including Chinese-style, western-style, half-cooked, and easy-to-cook pork products, the firm said yesterday (13 December). Zhongpin will also build a centre for advanced research and development, test, training, and other support functions next to the facility.

Xianfu Zhu, chairman and CEO of Zhongpin, said the expansion will add capacity for the company’s “higher-margin downstream products” and will serve its central China and adjacent markets.

“It will substantially enhance our R&D and further support our expanding market share in the growth regions of China,” Zhu said. “This new facility proves that we remain committed to doing everything possible – using the most advanced technologies and processes – to continue delivering new product innovations…and delivering strong long-term returns to our shareholders.”

Around 80% of the production equipment for the facility will be internationally sourced. Construction of the first phase is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2011 and be completed by the third quarter.

The second phase is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter 2012. The R&D, test, and training centre is also expected to open in the same timescale.