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WH Group scrambles to whet fading Chinese appetite for pork

Machines handle most of the work at WH Group's new Zhengzhou plant.

ZHENGZHOU, China -- With pork production shrinking as Chinese consumers seek more diverse dinner-table offerings, WH Group is trying to lure them back with products made to American safety standards and tailored to regional tastes.

The pork giant's new factory here in the capital of Henan Province shows few traces of human activity. The 800 million yuan ($116 million) facility brought online last December is equipped with machinery to handle the entire sausage production process, from grinding pork to steaming and packaging the sausages. Despite being staffed by just a dozen or so employees, the facility is five times as efficient as a neighboring plant with hundreds of workers, according to WH Group.

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