The Chinese Want Their Own Cargill

The government aims to build a global player in commodities
Cofco headquarters in Beijing Photograph by Rob Welham/Redux

For years, China’s automakers, oil and gas players, and technology companies have pursued their global ambitions by acquiring foreign companies. Now Chinese agriculture is getting its turn. On Feb. 28, China’s largest food processor and grain trader, Cofco, originally known as China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corp., announced it would buy 51 percent of Dutch grain trader Nidera. The investment gives the state-owned company access to port terminals, grain elevators, and processing facilities for soybean, wheat, and corn in Argentina and Brazil, as well as Nidera’s seed business. It’s “in line with Cofco strategy to become a global player in the agricultural industry,” said Frank Ning, its U.S.-educated chairman, in a statement.

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