A new Chinese dairy factory will be completed soon in the Waikato and taking milk straight from the farm. Hong Kong based company He Run International Investment Ltd has announced it will build a $70-$80 million dairy factory in Otorohanga, with plans to produce 25,000 tonnes of infant formula a year, in addition to specialty products such as cheese.
Farmers will be able to supply milk from 2016 when the new factory starts production.
The Chinese investors are believed to be tied to a huge chain of supermarkets and want a very good supply of New Zealand dairy products. Farmers are signing up to new milk contracts now, as He Run has been talking to suppliers for some time.
The factory will be the third Chinese-owned operation announced in the Waikato in as many years, with the $212m Yashili infant formula plant ready to kick off production in October, and Allied Faxi Food Company having just announced the contractors for its $10m ice-cream and frozen cream factory in the Hauraki District.
And it’s unlikely that He Run will be the last investment of its kind in the area. Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga travels regularly to China, and he said there is hot interest in New Zealand.
There are a growing number of Chinese investors in other regions around New Zealand. Shanghai-based Bright Dairy owns about 40 percent of the NZX-listed Synlait and is also one of the Dunsandel-based company’s customers. ‘Canterbury Pure’, made to order by Synlait, was Bright’s first offshore product. The brand and its advertising campaigns focus heavily on the natural and pure qualities of the Canterbury environment where the raw milk is produced.
Shoppers in China consider infant formula from New Zealand to be superior in terms of quality and food safety.