Jinfeng Cooperative launched a premium golden Fuji apple product in China last year, named Huang Jin Fu Shi.

Jinfeng Cooperative, controlled by Chinese hi-tech crop care giant Kingenta, is an agricultural service company that provides integrated planting solutions to Chinese farmers and production companies, a service that CEO Richard Zhang believes is exactly what China’s agricultural sector needs in its current development stage.

“In many developed western countries, large-scale planting operations are very common, which is ideal for the development of agricultural services. Chinese agriculture has never had that kind of environment, ” explains Zhang.

“Now, however, as our farming population gets older, and the policies for agricultural land transfer softens, we are seeing more and more large scale farmers and major producers come into being. This is a great opportunity for service companies.”

Kingenta’s new agricultural service business also plays an important part in the group's vision “to become the world-leading planting nutrition expert and provider of crop solutions”.

“The past 20 years have seen the compound fertiliser industry growing 7 to 8 per cent annually,' Zhang says. 'A handful of companies enjoyed more than 30 per cent annual growth over the last few years, while many medium to small businesses struggled or closed down. Technology, service, scale and brand power will be key to staying competitive.

'As market demand changes, and the preferential policies for the national fertiliser industry are gradually phased out, the industry will have to evolve and upgrade.'

Jinfeng Cooperative imports advanced technology and management models in a bid to change China’s conventional production operations. Currently, the company is focusing on all major fruit tree regions in China and grain growing regions such as Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu.

Jinfeng Cooperative offers services including soil analysis, seedling and fertiliser solutions, agricultural machinery service, and professional consultation and training for growers. It also works with third party partners to assist growers in brand development and financing. As Chinese consumers’ appetite for quality fresh fruit continues to grow, there is a big opportunity for domestic premium fruit producers.

Recently, Jinfeng Cooperative paired up with Tianxia Xingnong, a domestic fruit marketer and investment company. Tianxia Xingnong'sfounder was responsible for the success of Chu oranges, and launched Huang Jin Fu Shi (Golden Fuji) apples, a new branded product that achieved marked success in 2016, a year that was in general less than positive for domestic apples. According to Zhang, this is only the beginning.

“As the company partners with Ogilvy & Mather group in the near future, we will develop more and more high-end domestic agri-products,” Zhang says.

Looking to the future, Zhang is very positive.

“We have exciting news. A number of institutions, including the World Bank, will be investing in Jinfeng Cooperative. We are currently at the evaluation stage before this can be finalised. As capital comes in, Jinfeng Cooperative will be able to expand our service scope, and bring positive changes to the industry,” Zhang envisions. “Our goal is to be the leading brand in China’s agricultural service industry.”