JD.com has now committed to buy over $1.2bn of beef and pork, after earlier agreeing to import huge pork volumes from Smithfield Food, which claims to be America’s biggest pig processor.
The deal is part of a wider commitment from JD.com – China’s largest retailer by revenue – to buy and sell more than $2bn-worth of American goods across its vast e-commerce network.
A signing ceremony between the three outfits was held on 8 November. Organised as big PR event, it coincided with a meeting between US President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jingping, as part of the former’s 13-day Asia tour.
Tensions between the two nations have been high, with some analysts warning of a potential trade war against the world’s two biggest economies as Trump continues to grumble about the US-China trade deficit. Trump, though, does not blame China for the multi-billion dollar difference in trade, according to multiple reports this week.
With the JD.com deal done, US businesses MSGA and Smithfield Food can reach customers in more than 100 cities across China, the biggest consumer market in the world.
“These ground-breaking agreements bring together two of America’s most trusted and in-demand meat suppliers with China’s leading e-commerce platform, to the benefit of both US producers and Chinese consumers,” said Richard Liu, CEO of JD.com.
“China’s shoppers will rest assured knowing they are able to purchase safe, high-quality meat products imported from the US, with the fast delivery and ironclad assurance of authenticity that they have come to expect from JD. We look forward to expanding our long-term cooperation with high-quality US meat producers like Smithfield and MSGA,” he added.
Meat is booming for JD.com with volume sales in the first six months of 2017, rising by more than 780% year-on-year, according to the firm. Imported meat accounts for three in 10 sales. With most sales coming from major urbanised cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing, there is considerable room for growth across China.