Chinese meat firm Zhongpin has signed an agreement with Chenguang Meat Products Factory to lease a pork production facility in Shenzhou city from early December.

The newly-leased facility in Shenzhou, Hebei Province has an annual chilled and frozen pork production capacity of around 26,000 metric tons.

Zhongpin plans to use around 70% of the capacity for the production of chilled pork products and the remaining 30% for frozen pork products.

Hebei Province has a well-developed transportation system, which will facilitate Zhongpin's expansion plans to penetrate markets in Northern China.

The leased facility has the largest hog slaughtering capacity in Shenzhou, the company said, and is equipped with "world-class" equipment utilising advanced processing technology, which will increase Zhongpin's chilled and frozen pork production capacity by 7%, bringing total production capacity to 417,560 metric tons annually.

"We are happy to report the increased expansion of our production capacity with the addition of the leased facility in Shenzhou," said Xianfu Zhu, CEO of Zhongpin. "We believe this is a significant step in our efforts to capture market share in Northern China.

"We have been targeting the high-end pork product markets in Tianjin, Beijing, Hebei Province and other areas in Northern China which have experienced rapid growth in their consumer bases in recent years. With the help of a dedicated production base in the region, we expect to effectively tap these markets, acquire new market share, and further promote Zhongpin's brand image."