CHANGGE, China — Zhongpin Inc. plans to build a new production, research and development, test and training complex in its home city of Changge in Henan province of China. The new facility will add 100,000 metric tons of capacity for prepared pork products, including Chinese-style, western-style, half-cooked, and easy-to-cook pork products.

Adjacent to the production facility will be a new center for advanced research and development, test, training and other support functions.

"This expansion will add capacity for our higher-margin downstream products and will serve our central China market and adjacent markets, Mr. Xianfu Zhu, chairman and CEO. “It will substantially enhance our R&D and further support our expanding market share in the growth regions of China. This new facility proves that we remain committed to doing everything possible — using the most advanced technologies and processes — to continue delivering new product innovations that will be desired by China's citizens, delivering food at the highest standards of product quality and safety to every customer, and delivering strong long-term returns to our shareholders."

Zhongpin plans to invest $58.5 million on the construction, excluding the land use rights that Zhongpin already owns. More than 80% of the production equipment will be internationally sourced. The company's advanced cold-chain logistics system will support the expanding capacity. The payback period for the project is expected to be about 5.75 years.

Construction for the first phase of 50,000 metric tons for prepared pork products is scheduled to start in the first quarter 2011 and be completed by the third quarter 2011. The second phase, also with an annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons for prepared pork products, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter 2012. The R&D, test, and training center is also expected to open by the fourth quarter 2012.

Zhongpin Inc. is a meat and food processing company specializing in pork and pork products, vegetables and fruits in China. Its distribution network in China covers 20 provinces plus Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing and includes more than 3,285 retail outlets. Zhongpin's export markets include the European Union, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.