A joint venture between Da Cheng, Taiwan's largest food company, and China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import & Export Corp (Cofco), the largest state trading company, is due to reach fruition in April of 2001, when Foodchina.com commences trading.

With investments reaching US$20m, and subsidiary companies in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Beijing, Foodchina.com is aiming to become the premiere B2B site in Greater China for industries engaged in agriculture, livestock, oil and foodstuffs.

The site will first concentrate on forage flour, edible oils and meat, but plans are in place for later service offerings of insurance, banking and quality inspection.

"We see enormous potential," commented Liu Fuchun, president of Cofco. "We shareholders all have operations which we are putting on the Internet. We are not doing the Internet first and then looking for business. Everyone says that while production and consumption of grain in China are advanced, logistics and distribution are backward, [but] we invited opinions from consultants and looked at foreign models."

Cofco is the major investor, controlling a 29% stake, and Da Cheng and Great Wall are in second place with 28%. Minority investors with 10% each include US Archer Daniel Midland and Dutch Rabobank International.