Large Chinese egg companies are playing a greater role in global egg production. Despite the country becoming the world’s largest egg producer almost 40 years ago, the majority of production has traditionally come from small-scale producers. More recently, larger companies have started to emerge.

 An opportunity to dive into the latest market trends while confirming the growth of certain regions and egg producers around the world is offered each year by WATT Global Media's publication of Poultry Trends. The latest edition has confirmed some of the recent changes seen in the Chinese egg sector.

Unlike the broiler sector, where China is home to two companies that have been among the world’s largest broiler producers, Chinese egg companies have never achieved such global visibility.

China has been the world’s largest egg producing country since 1985 and accounted for 34.1% of the global egg production in 2019, according to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  

This represented production of 28.4 million metric tons is more than four times that of the USA. China’s massive egg output been achieved through the hard work of countless small egg producers.  

A survey published in 2009 by China Animal Husbandry Statistics showed that the country was home to more than 250,000 farms with fewer than 10,000 hens and only 13 farms with more than half a million hens. At that time, small producers accounted for 76% of the total egg production in China.   

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Changing egg production methods

One of China’s early adopters of more intensive egg production methods was the Hanwei Group, located in Dalian in North-East China. In the early 2000s De Quing Yuan (DQY) located north of Beijing set up an operation with space for about three million layers, although it did not operate at full capacity for some time.  

Competition quickly arrived in 2010 with CP Group, from Thailand, and also established a three million bird farm outside of Beijing.  

Over the past 10 years, more producers have established multi-million bird operations in various provinces, including Sichuan in South-West China, home to the pandas as well as 83 million inhabitants.

U.S. producers have typically dominated the 10 largest egg producers list, with five or six companies included. Chinese egg producers never quite made it into the ranking due to needing a minimum of 13 million birds to be included on the 2020 list.

In 2020, DQY failed to make it into the top 25 global egg producers, meaning that it owned fewer than 10 million birds. In 2021, however, DQY jumped to 5th position with 20.6 million birds, following a year of phenomenal growth. Another company, Sichuan Sundaily Farm, now has 13 million birds and will likely be on the top 10 list by next year.

The rise of large egg companies is boosting the grading of shell eggs and sales of branded products. This change constitutes an opportunity to add more value to the sector. It was only a matter of time for Chinese egg producers to join this illustrious list of companies feeding the world.