CHANGGE, CHINA – Zhongpin Inc., a leading meat and food processing company in the People's Republic of China, plans to build a new slaughtering and processing plant, low-temperature prepared pork plant, logistics center and research and development center in Nong'an county in the Jilin province of China at a cost of approximately US$ 61.5 million.

Located in China's largest grain-producing county, the new complex will also be built in China's largest animal-husbandry region as well as one of its premium meat-producing counties.

Each year, approximately 4 million hogs are slaughtered for food in Nong'an county. This site is adjacent to the main markets that include the cities of Harbin and Changchun, making the location ideal for both the source of hogs and for large markets that consume pork products, the company said.

"This facility will be part of our plan to expand to national market coverage for our safe and high-quality food products,” said Xianfu Zhu, chairman and chief executive officer. “The facility will include all of Zhongpin's modern integrated process engineering and IT systems, plus our state-of-the-art cold-chain logistics and distribution center, a research and development center and an employee living area."

The annual production capacity for the new facility will be approximately 125,000 metric tons, with 70,000 metric tons for chilled pork, 25,000 metric tons for frozen pork and 30,000 metric tons for prepared pork products. Zhongpin expects to process about 1.2 million hogs annually in its new plant.

Phase one of construction, which includes the production lines and cold-chain logistics and distribution systems for chilled pork and frozen pork, R&D center, and employee living area, is scheduled to start construction in the third quarter of 2010, with trial pork production starting in the fourth quarter 2011. Phase two, which will include production facilities for prepared pork products, will begin in the second quarter of 2011 and should be completed in the third quarter of 2012.

Zhongpin Inc. specializes in processing pork and pork products, vegetables and fruits in China. Its Chinese distribution network covers 20 provinces plus Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, and it also includes more than 3,000 retail outlets. Zhongpin's export markets include the European Union and Southeast Asia.