Australia’s milk powder specialist Jatcorp has appointed its COO and executive director, Sunny Jianxin Liang, as the new CEO of the company.

Jianxin Liang, who formerly managed the company’s business development, will take on the promotion with immediate effect.

He will receive an annual salary of A$230,000 ($154,010), in addition to superannuation, and is employed under a three-year contract.

According to the company, prior to working for Jatcorp, Jianxin Liang spent more than a decade in the export sector, specifically focusing on infant formula, as well as health supplements and other areas relating to cosmetics and personal care.

Zhan (Jack) Wang, who has been Jatcorp’s managing director since September 2022, will continue in his role, homing in on the development of “corporate strategic development” in ESG, investor relations and management of the board of directors.

Commenting on the news, Dennis Shen, board chair at Jatcorp, said the company was “excited to welcome Sunny” into the CEO position.

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Shen added: “He brings a wealth of experiences which are well aligned with Jatcorp and will be critical to the achievement of our growth strategy. We wish Sunny every success in this role and look forward to seeing Jatcorp flourish under his leadership.”

The business manages a portfolio of dairy and nutrient products targeted at Asia Pacific consumers. These include a range of cow, camel and goat milk powder formulas containing Lactoferrin, designed for both infants and seniors.

In its latest financial figures for the year ended 30 June 2023, Jatcorp recorded revenue growth of 68.02%, increasing from A$34.1m to A$57.4m year on year.

Gross profit was also up by 181%, from A$4m to A$11m, with gross profit margin also up from 11.72% to 19.59%

The company’s net loss after tax on continuing operations hit -A$2.5m, a narrowing of 60%.

Revenue from products in the international market made up 42.2% of total revenue for 2023 at A$24.2m, an increase of 16.5% since 2022.

According to its annual report, Jatcorp is eyeing further expansion into China in the near term, via “major e-commerce platforms” as well as partnering with “local sales channels” in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It also expects to penetrate further into the Southeast Asia market through “well-known exhibitions and strong local partnerships”, especially in Vietnam.

Over the past few years, the company has also been building its focus on plant-based proteins. In 2019, the company signed a joint venture deal with New South Wales-based food and drink producer Oppenheimer Pty to develop the plant-based protein brand V Meat for the Asian market.

Jatcorp then entered into an agreement with China towards the end of 2020, to produce plant-based meat in the country through contract manufacturers. The meat alternatives were to be supplied to the country’s largest state-owned vegetarian restaurant chain, Shanghai Godly Vegetarian Industry Co.

At the time, the group said it had received “potential buying interest” from a number of Chinese state-owned restaurant groups, and that discussions were “ongoing”.