Healthy Food, Healthy Profits

Celestial NutriFoods of Daqing brings protein powder and other soy products to millions of Chinese consumers. Now its founder has set his sights on biofuel

For more than two millennia, the Chinese have known that eating tofu is healthy. Ming Dequan figured if he could bottle the beneficial parts of tofu's main ingredient, soybeans, and sell it, he could make a fortune. Ming spent most of the 1990s researching soybeans in a lab under China National Petroleum's subsidiary, Daqing Petroleum. He finally came up with a protein powder derived from soy beans, but the state-owned oil company had little interest in selling health foods. So Ming found a Hong Kong investor to back him, quit his job, and started Celestial NutriFoods in 1999 to sell his soybean protein powder shakes.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.