Billionaire Chinese businessman Xingfa Ma has bought two large Australian cattle stations as part of China’s growing appetite for beef.
The purchases are the latest in a string of deals between Chinese investors and Australian farmers this year.
China has 20 percent of the global population, including many newly affluent meat-eaters, but only 9 percent of the world’s arable land.
Ma owns ball bearing giant Tianma and is one of the 400 wealthiest people in China, according to Forbes.
As part of the deal, Ma spent $47 million to acquire 40,000 head of cattle on 705,700 ha of the Wollogorang and Wentworth cattle stations — located in the Northern Territory and Queensland border regions.
The purchase of the two Gulf stations adds to Mr Ma's significant portfolio of Australian properties, which includes Balfour Downs, Emu Downs and Wandanya Station in Western Australia.
He also owns Ferngrove Wine Group, which he has sunk millions into since purchasing in 2011.
Just recently, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce hinted that Australia was looking to strike a new live cattle exports deal – possibly with China.
Sources say the two countries have already begun negotiating a deal. However, any agreement may face obstacles.
This includes concerns that live exports would bring insects carrying Bluetongue disease—which is not harmful to humans, but potentially fatal for animals — to China.