China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO Group): Founded in 1952 and headquartered in Beijing, COFCO is the largest supplier of diversified products and services in the agricultural products and food industry in China. COFCO plays a pivotal role as a bridge in the markets of edible oils and foodstuff between China and the world, and serves as the main importing and exporting channel for bulk agricultural products such as wheat, corn, rice and sugar. As an investment holding company specialized in trade and processing of oil and foodstuff as well as other businesses. (English version and Promotional Video)


1949 [Chinese Revolution]: In September, the company set up several specialized companies, such as North China Grains Company, North China Oils Company, North China Eggs Company, North China Pig Bristles Company, North China Fur Company and North China Local Product Company.

1951: In April North China Grains, North China Oils, North China Eggs, North China Pig Bristles and North China Fur were restructured into national trading companies, and renamed as China Grains Company, China Oils Company, China Eggs Company, China Pig Bristles Company and China Fur Company respectively. Their offices were moved from Tianjin to Beijing. China Eggs Company, China Pig Bristles Company and China Fur Company merged into China Animal By-Products Company.

1952: In September, the government incorporated specialized foreign trade companies. China Grains Company and China Oils Company were restructured as China Grains Exports Company and China Oils Exports Company respectively. The foods business unit was taken away from China Animal By-Products Company and restructured as China Foods Exports Company.

1953: In January, China Grains Exports Company merged with China Oils Exports Company, forming China Grains & Oils Exports Company.

1961 [Great Leap Forward]: In January, China Grains and Oils Exports Company merged with China Foods Exports Company, forming China Grains, Oils & Food Imports & Exports Company, which was mainly engaged in import and export of grain, oils and other staple agricultural products and foodstuffs. The company was the main importer and exporter of wheat, corn, rice, sugar and other staple agricultural products for the next several decades.

1962: The “Three-Express” is shortened from “express freight train for fresh and frozen goods supplied to Hong Kong and Macao”. In March 1962, COFCO Corporation organized food supply and sent people to escort goods by the first “Three-Express” train. Over the past 40 years, the “Three-Express” has sent more than 100 million heads of cattle and sheep, billions of ducks and geese, more than 2 million tons frozen food and numerous pond fish, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables to Hong Kong and Macao.

1965: The company changed its name to China Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export Corporation. During this period, the company, entrusted by the state with dual tasks of carrying out specialized operations and managing the import and export of oils and foodstuffs, set up more than 40 Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export branches in provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China.

1976 [Mao dies]

1978: In October, the company signed an alcohol consignment agreement with America-based Seagram Company, introducing foreign alcohol into the Chinese mainland market.

1979: COFCO reintroduced Coca-Cola products into China’s mainland market by importing and selling its finished beverages in the domestic market.

1983: China Great Wall Wine Co., Ltd. was set up, of which COFCO held shares, marking COFCO’s penetration into the wine making business.

1988: After the reform of China’s trade system, Oils & Foodstuffs branches around the country were separated from the corporation, marking COFCO transformed from a management-centered company into a profit-centered company, from a single trade agency into an industrial enterprise.

1992: Along with the development of China’s socialist market economy, COFCO sped up the production and processing of edible oil, wine, malt, flour, rice, beverages, chocolate, metal packaging as well as the development of real estate and financial services. The company became more diversified with its businesses. In October, Beijing Gloria Hotel was open, marking COFCO’s penetration into the business of hotel operation.

1993: COFCO acquired two Hong Kong-listed companies, namely, COFCO International and Top Glory International.

1994: Since 1994, COFCO had been regularly awarded with the title of Global Top 500 enterprises by Fortune.

1996: In September, COFCO Futures Brokerage Co., Ltd. was established and soon ascended into the rank of China’s top 10 futures brokerage firms.

1998: In November, the company was restructured as a state-owned enterprise and renamed as China Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export (Group) Co., Ltd.

1999: In the first half of the year, the company was nominated as one of 163 state-owned key enterprises under the direct governance of SASAC [State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission]. At the end of the year, the company was nominated as one of state-owned key enterprises under the direct governance of SASAC.

2000: In September, the company jointly set up FoodChina.com with Taiwan-based Dacheng Group, the US-based ADM and other well-known international enterprises. On June 16th 2000, Hongkong Top Glory officially changed its name to China Oil & Foodstuffs Group (Hongkong) Company Limited.

2001: In January, the company’s Hong Kong-listed “COFCO International” and “Top Glory International” jointly issued a notice of reorganization.

2002: In September, the company held activities in Beijing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

2003: In January, COFCO, the Great Wall Wine Company of China and the Great Wall Wine (Yantai) Co., Ltd. were identified as the state’s key enterprises in agricultural industrialization by the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Development Planning Commission, the State Economic and Trade Commission and other departments. COFCO and AVIVA set up AVIVA-COFCO Life insurance Co., Ltd. in Guangzhou.

2004: In February, COFCO and AON set up China’s first insurance brokerage joint venture, AON-COFCO Insurance Brokerage Co., Ltd., in Shanghai. In September, the company adopted the name of China Cereals ,Oils and Foodstuffs (Group) Co., Ltd. , and China Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import and Export Company was merged into COFCO. In November, Asia’s largest and China’s sole parboiled rice processing plant, COFCO (Jiangxi) Rice Industry Co., Ltd. , began operation in Jinxian County of Jiangxi Province.

2005: In June, COFCO restructured Xinjiang Tunhe Investment Co., Ltd. and entered into the tomato sauce, beet and sugar processing industries. In April, COFCO identified its new mission, vision and strategy to initiate transformation of the overall strategy and development in accordance with market requirements. In September, the company acquired China Resources Bio-chemicals and China Resources Alcohol. The company became a shareholder of BBCA the following year, entering into the biomass energy industry.

2006: In March, China Grains & Oils Group Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of the company through merger.    In April, after the acquisition and share reform, Shenzhen Baoheng (Group) Co., Ltd. changed its name into COFCO Property (Group) Co., Ltd., serving as a platform of financial operation for the real estate business.

In August, COFCO Wines & Spirits became the exclusive wine supplier to 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In October, COFCO replaced the green company logo which had been used for 13 years with the new 3-D one featuring the four core constituents, i.e., sky, earth, people and sunshine. In December, COFCO accepted 200 million BBCA shares transferred and increased its shareholding of BBCA to 20.74%, becoming its biggest shareholder.

2007: In April, COFCO International Ltd. changed its name to China Foods Co., Ltd.
The company later changed its name to COFCO Limited. In August, Hong Kong Hang Seng Index listed COFCO Agri-Industries Holdings (HK: 0606) in the Hang Seng Composite Index (Consumables Manufacturing Category) and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index as constituent stock, effective on Sep 10, 2007(Monday).

In December, the company held an inaugural ceremony for the operation of the non-grain fuel ethanol pilot project in Beihai of Guangxi Autonomous Region, with a production capacity of 200,000 tons. It was a significant national pilot project with a production capacity of 1 milion tons of non-grain fuel ethanol for vehicles in Guangxi, which is promoting the state policy of further expanding the fuel ethanol market and supporting its strategic arrangements in the energy sector.

Chinese president Hu Jintao and Russian president Putin attended “China Year” activities held in Russia, and visited the booth of COFCO China Tea Company.

2008: Large-scale fashion MALL — Xidan Joy City opened. In May, the Leadership Development Center, COFCO’s own business school, was opened.

2009: In February, the company reorganized Beijing Cereal Way Food Technology Development Co. Ltd. In July, COFCO signed an agreement with Coordination Bureau of 2010 Shanghai World Expo to become a senior sponsor to the event. In August, www.womai.com, a COFCO’s specialized online food shopping network, was put into operation. In November, CPMC Holdings (00906) was listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

2010: From May to October of 2010– COFCO, as a senior sponsor of Shanghai World Expo, catered the event with its “Fortune” edible oil, which was the only designated oil product of Shanghai World Expo and “Great Wall” wine, which was the only designated wine of Shanghai World Expo.

2011: In April, 2011, COFCO Nutrition & Health Research Institute had its groundbreaking ceremony in Beijing Future Sciences and Technologies City, which will be the first R&D center operating as an enterprise that aims to conduct systematic research on Chinese people’s nutritional requirements and metabolic mechanism so as to meet Chinese people’s demand for health.

Source: COFCO Group

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