History and Honor

  • COFCO, founded in 1949, has developed from a single grain and oil import & export company to one of the world’s leaders in agricultural trade, logistics, processing and production, feeding nearly a quarter of the world’s population.

  • In February 1949, the predecessor of COFCO, North China Foreign Trade Company, was established in Tianjin. September 1949. In September, North China Foreign Trade Company was split into North-China Cereals Company, China National Oils & Oilseeds Company, North-China Egg Products Company, North-China Bristles Company, North-China Leather & Fur Products Company, and North-China Native Product Company and so on.

  • In 1949, Business Registration Certificate for Import & Export of North China Import Company, the predecessor of North China Foreign Trade Company, was established in Tianjin.

  • With the founding of New China in October 1949, the branches of North China Foreign Trade Company were moved to Beijing gradually and reorganized to national trade companies. On March 10th, 1950, the 23rd session of the Government Administration Council (the predecessor of the State Council) passed the Measures on Unification of National Trade and decided to set up national trade companies.

  • North-China Cereals Company, China National Oils & Oilseeds Company, North-China Egg Products Company, North-China Bristles Company, and North-China Leather & Fur Products Company were reorganized as state-owned enterprises and renamed China National Cereals Corporation, China National Oils & Oilseeds Corporation, China Egg Product Corporation, China National Bristles Corporation, and China National Leather & Fur Products Corporation respectively. The above mentioned companies moved their headquarters from Tianjin to Beijing. In April 1951, China Egg Product Corporation, China National Bristles Corporation, and China National Leather & Fur Corporation merged together and became China National Animal Products Corporation.

  • Foreign trade companies were reorganized by the Chinese government. China National Cereals Corporation and China National Oils & Oilseeds Corporation were reorganized as the China National Cereals Export Corporation and China National Oils & Oilseeds Export Corporation. The foodstuffs businesses were also separated from the China National Animal Products Corporation and were established as the China Foodstuffs Export Corporation.

  • The founding of New China inspired the development of more national projects and further need for funding. COFCO focused on developing its export business of agricultural products for foreign exchange and played a pivotal role in funding national construction. 

  • China and Sri Lanka signed a “Five-Year Trade Agreement with Regard to Rice and Rubber Exchange” in Beijing. In 1953, two contracts were signed regarding rice exchange for rubber between the two countries. In the following 20 years, COFCO involved in the execution of “Rice Exchange for Rubber Agreement” between the Chinese and Sri Lanka governments, gaining crucial strategic supplies for China.

  • China National Cereals Export Corporation and China National Oils & Oilseeds Export Corporation were merged to China National Cereals, Oils and Oilseeds Export Corporation.

  • The newly-founded China began its economic development with foreign currency remaining scarce. COFCO became more active in trading with the former Soviet Union, and other countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and increased Chinese access to foreign currencies through exports of its grain, oil, and foodstuffs.

  • Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, COFCO continued the grain trade with the former Soviet Union, and other countries in Eastern Europe, and Asia primarily through similar inter-governmental trade agreements and barter trade. COFCO maintained a principled balance of imports and exports, and greatly improved China’s foreign trade activities.

  • With further growth of its foreign trade business, COFCO set up a number of individual production bases throughout China to increase agricultural production. Meanwhile, COFCO established industrial standards and installed dedicated plants and workshops for processing, cementing its role as the foundation and driving force in Chinese agricultural industry. 

  • In early 1950’s, the Corporation raised export of China’s canned food in both volume and speed as assigned by the government with its unremitting efforts. By building new canned production bases and industry standards, COFCO greatly increased domestic production and expanded export of canned goods. 

  • COFCO began its foreign trade with exporting grain, oil, and foodstuffs. By 1960’s, COFCO had expanded to an extensive import and export business for cereals, oils, and foodstuffs, with over 3,000 clients in over 120 countries. 

  • Since 1950's, COFCO has participated in non-governmental trade with Japan and executed four Sino-Japan Non-governmental Trade Agreements as the first hard move. In 1960's, COFCO carried out two Sino-Japan Long-term Comprehensive Trade Memorandums and accomplished targeted export volume to Japan. On September 29, 1972, China and Japan signed a joint statement declaring the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. As one of the implementers of the Sino-Japanese trade agreements and memorandums, COFCO played an active role in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the development of bilateral economic and trade relations.

  • COFCO has been serving as the main channel for China in trading agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn, rice, and sugar for a long time. It has played an active role in balancing domestic grain supply and demand, regulating grain varieties, restraining market prices, and ensuring market supply.

  • In the 2nd half of 1960, Chaojin LIU of China Resources Co., Ltd. signed the first wheat import contract with Canada under the name of Liang LIU, which kicked off grain import by a large volume by China. The picture is contract signed with Canada on wheat import by Chaojin LIU under the name of Liang LIU on behalf of COFCO in 1961.

  • China suffered from severe economic hardship and serious food shortage, affecting urban and rural residents throughout China. To relieve the tension in food supply, COFCO imported grain, oil and foodstuffs urgently from Canada, Australia, France, Argentina, Mexico, and other countries. The Corporation also secured a sugar import contract with Cuba, importing large amounts of raw sugar to meet domestic demand.These emergency imports of grain and raw sugar were crucial to gap the domestic shortage, meet people's needs, and recover and further grow agricultural and industrial production of China.

  • By merger of China National Cereals, Oils and Oilseeds Export Corporation with China Foodstuffs Export Corporation, China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import & Export Corporation was established and mainly engaged in the import and export of agricultural commodities such as grain and oilseeds as well as foodstuffs. COFCO has been China’s primary channel for trade of wheat, corn, rice, sugar, and other bulk agricultural products in the next several decades.

  • Beijing Export Building,  COFCO's headquarter office from 1961 - 1991.

  • In 1961, The Export Contract of Soybean and other Products to Cuba by China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation.

  • “Three Express Trains” have begun, bringing fresh and frozen foods from Wuhan, Shanghai, and Zhengzhou to Hong Kong and Macau every day. In the following 40 years, with the efforts of generation of COFCO people, the “Three Express Trains” have been operated smoothly and punctually. They were considered as three major trade arteries, exporting fresh food to Hong Kong and Macau continuously, which not only enriched the baskets of food of the six million residents in Hong Kong and Macau for the four seasons, but also ensured their economic development and social stability.

  • The Company was renamed as China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Import and Export Corporation. During this period, COFCO fulfilled its dual responsibilities to support the Chinese government in management of this industry and to be a profitable import and export company. It expanded to more than 40 branches in different provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions in China operating grain, oil, and foodstuffs import and export business.
  • COFCO set up a number of individual production bases for the export of agricultural and sideline products. It also supported the establishment of a series of plants and workshops specialized in processing of products for export. By doing this, COFCO developed more marketable export commodities, increased the supply of exported products and further optimized processes through more efficient and balanced planting and breeding structures. It has a far-reaching impact on the development of local economy and improvement of the livelihood of the Chinese people for generations.

  • COFCO entered into a wine consignment agreement with the US-based Schlegel Corporation to introduce wine to the Chinese domestic market. Coca-Cola returned to the Chinese market after 30 years being away and became a best-selling drink in China through a consignment deal with COFCO.

  • In accordance with international standards, COFCO became the first domestic producer of white wine in 1970’s and red wine in 1980’s.

  • Asia Wine Cellar of Huaxia Great Wall Wine in Changli, Hebei Province, the largest underground granite cellar in Asia.

  • The decision of the higher authorities to reform China’s foreign trade system and decouple the branches was delivered by the Corporation at a National Manager Meeting on Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuffs Systems at Fragrant Hill Hotel in Beijing.

  • China reformed its foreign trade systems and decoupled the branches with headquarters in grain, oil and food industry. COFCO transformed from a single foreign trade agency into several state-owned enterprises.

  • COFCO held its Third Overseas Enterprise Conference in Beijing and proposed the strategic goal of a comprehensive, multi-functional and international corporation for the first time.

  • Beijing Jingxin Mansion, COFCO’s office in Beijing from 1991 to 1996.

  • As China developed the socialist market economy, COFCO speeded up its traditional production and processing businesses, including edible oil, flour, rice, wine, malt, beverages, and metal packaging and further expanded to real estate development and financial services. 

  • In 1992, Hangzhou MC Packaging Co., Ltd. was established.

    In 1997, COFCO took control of the company and renamed it as Hangzhou COFCO-MC Packaging Co., Ltd.

  • In 1993, COFCO East Ocean Oils & Grains Industries (Zhangjiagang) Co., Ltd. was established and in 1997 it was put into operation and became one of the world’s largest integrated grain and oil processing base.

  • COFCO acquired two Hong Kong listed companies: COFCO International Limited and Top Glory International Holdings Limited.

  • COFCO Flour Industry (Qinhuangdao) Pang Thai Co., Ltd was established. 

  • COFCO Plaza, Beijing. COFCO’s office building from 1996 to 2009.

  • COFCO was transformed into a wholly state-owned enterprise and changed its name to China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import & Export Corporation (Group) Co., Ltd.

  • COFCO and the Canadian Wheat Board held a joint reception in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of trade between China and Canada.

  • COFCO entered the insurance business and established Aviva-COFCO Life Insurance Co., Ltd. together with Aviva PLC, an UK Insurance company.

  • COFCO implemented the strategy of building a fully-integrated value chain, making its main business bigger and stronger and furthering competitive advantage.

  • COFCO changed its name to China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuffs Corporation (Group) Co., Ltd. and China Native Produce & Animal By-Products Import & Export Corporation (TUHSU) was merged into COFCO.

  • COFCO (Jiangxi) Rice Limited, the Asia's largest and only parboiled rice processing plant in China, was established in Jinxian County, Jiangxi Province.

  • COFCO merged Xinjiang Tunhe Investment Co., Ltd. and entered the tomato sauce and beet sugar processing industry.

  • COFCO merged Xinjiang Sifang Sugar (Group) Co., Ltd.

  • COFCO acquired 37.03% of the equity in China Resources Biochemical (600893), 100% of the equity in China Resources Alcohol, and 20% of the equity in Jilin Fuel Ethanol. In the following year, COFCO took control of BBCA Biochemical and entered the biomass energy industry.

  • China Grains & Oils Group was merged into COFCO.

  • Shenzhen Baoheng (Group) Co., Ltd. changed its name to "COFCO Property (Group) Co., Ltd. and became the capital operations platform of COFCO Property.

  • COFCO changed to its current name to COFCO Corporation.

  • COFCO International Co., Ltd. was split into China Agri-Industries Holdings Limited and China Foods Limited with the former one listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

  • COFCO opened its first large commercial complex, the Beijing Xidan Joy City.

  • COFCO Meat Investment Co., Ltd. was established.

  • COFCO Malt(Jiangyin) Co., Ltd. began operation.

  • COFCO Trust Co., Ltd. opened.

  • COFCO became the largest shareholder of Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy (Group) Company Limited.

  • COFCO's online food E-commerce website "Womai.com” began operation.

  • CPMC Holdings Limited was officially traded on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

  • COFCO Fortune Plaza, the current office building of COFCO.

  • COFCO acquired 350 hectares of vineyards in and around Colchagua, Chile's central valley. In February 2011, COFCO spent 100 million RMB in the acquisition of Chateau de VIAUD in Bordeaux region, France.

  • Five COFCO Industrial Parks in Xi'an, Chengdu, Zhengzhou, Tianjin and the Yellow Sea were successively launched.

  • COFCO Nutrition and Health Research Institute laid the foundation in the Future Technology City in Beijing.

  • COFCO completed its acquisition of Tully Sugar, Australia's fourth largest sugar refinery.

  • China Grains & Logistics Corporation was merged into COFCO as a wholly-owned subsidiary. On December 30th 2013, COFCO Trading Ltd. was established with the merger of COFCO Agri-Trading & Logistics Co., Ltd. and China Grain & Logistics Corporation.

  • COFCO Land Holdings Limited was listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

  • COFCO accelerated its Global Strategy by acquiring two international agricultural enterprises: Noble Agri and Nidera. This linked COFCO to global food supply and demand and made it become a leading international grain trader that has global layout and manages the grain business as core business.

    In the future, COFCO will further strengthen its core businesses of grain, oil, sugar and cotton, optimize global distribution, increase its control of origination, and serve the national macro-control of grain supply and food safety.

  • From 2014 and onwards, by merging Noble Agri and Nidera, COFCO speeded up its international strategy to become the leading international grain trader.

  • Santos Dry Bulk Export Terminal of COFCO Agri in Brazil.

  • USA Constanza elevator of Nidera in Romania.

  • China Huafu Trade & Development Group Corporation was merged into COFCO as a wholly-owned subsidiary.

  • Chinatex Corporation was merged into COFCO as a wholly-owned subsidiary Meanwhile, COFCO initiated its reform as the pilot of the state-owned investment company.