HONG KONG -- WH Group, the world's largest pork processor, will sell products from U.S. subsidiary Smithfield Foods in its home market of China to fight weak domestic sales resulting from high prices and the country's slowing economic growth.
U.S. pork prices are sliding, making increased imports to China a profitable move. WH Group will introduce products under the Smithfield brand domestically in September.
Low U.S. prices and falling Chinese sales volume sank WH Group's sales 3% year over year to $10.2 billion for the January-June half. The company's net profit crept up only 0.3% to $367 million.
The focus on Smithfield also may be designed to court safety-conscious consumers. The group faced accusations in 2011 that its products contained banned food additives. The company at the time went by the name Shuanghui International Holdings, and many consumers remain leery of products under the Shuanghui brand.