Ham brings over US$1.5 bln to southwest Chinese city

Xuanwei ham is a household name in China with a history of more than a thousand years.

At the end of every year, it is a busy time for the vast rural areas of Xuanwei, a city in southwest China's Yunnan Province, as local villagers begin to make hams with the hind legs of pigs.

Xuanwei ham is a household name in China with a history of more than a thousand years. Featuring thin skin, thick flesh, and moderate fat, it is characterized by its rose-red colour, delightful flavour, and pleasant taste.

"Xuanwei ham is our city card. The method of making ham is widely known in the rural areas," said Guan Heping with the city agriculture and rural affairs bureau.

"Almost every household in Xuanwei raises some pigs to make ham, which is an important source of income for the family," Guan added.

"Xuanwei's unique climate, soil, temperature, and humidity have created a natural factory suitable for making ham," Fu Wenxi, director of the Xuanwei ham industry service centre, said.

At present, there are more than 1,000 ham processing enterprises and self-employed businesses in Xuanwei. In 2022, about 218,000 pig farmers in Xuanwei raised 3.11 million hogs. The annual output of ham in the city reached 69,000 tons last year, generating an output value of 10.5 billion yuan (US$1.52 billion).

Since late December, Pu Enyong, chairman of the Xuanwei ham brand Laopujia has been running around to lay out business for 2023.

The company has established a mature business portfolio ranging from pig breeding, ham processing, product research and development, and marketing, with more than 100 varieties of ham-related products on offer. In 2022, the total sales income of the company reached US$38.31 million.

Many ham companies have been spending heavily on innovation to meet the changing appetite of picky foodies. New products such as ready-to-eat cooked ham, ham condiments, ham sauces, and other products have registered booming sales on e-commerce live streaming platforms.

According to the Xuanwei ham industry service centre, the city has developed and produced more than 100 series of products, such as raw and cooked ham, seasonings, and ham cakes. Its sales share accounts for about 35 percent of the national ham market.

The city is eyeing an annual production of 69,500 tons of ham in 2023, with an output value to exceed US$1.62 billion.

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