Major Chinese food companies are setting up their production facilities in the Korea National Food Cluster to expand their food exports to the global market by lessening general concerns on the safety of Chinese food.
According to the agency responsible for promotion of the Korea National Food Cluster on October 22, four Chinese companies have signed memoranda of understanding for investing individually with South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The Qingdao Nine-Alliance Group, one of China’s largest producers and exporters of chicken products, is on the list. The Chinese investors expect their presence in Korea help their access to Korean and global markets, as well as their home country.
“Our presence in South Korea will provide a good opportunity for us to take off as a global food company as South Korea has made free trade agreements (FTAs) with many countries, which would help spread our products quickly worldwide,” said CEO Wang Heung Hu of the Qingdao Nine-Alliance Group.
A Korean minister said, “The products to be produced in the Cluster will be marked ‘Made in Korea,’ which would contribute to abolishing spread concerns over the safety of Chinese food, in particular, among Korean people.”
In 2008, South Korean food safety inspectors detected traces of melamine, a toxic chemical that can cause kidney problems when digested in large quantities, in some Chinese products.
The Korea National Food Cluster, located in Iksan City, North Jeolla Province, about 250 kilometers south of Seoul, was planned in 2010 by the government to be a food cluster composed of food-related R&D facilities and production plants with residential areas for workers.
Up to now, around 80 investors have promised to enter the Cluster, the first stage establishment of which will be completed by 2015.