March 20, 2018 / 4:02 AM / a month ago

China's Longping High-Tech, ChemChina unit set up corn seed JV

BEIJING, March 20 (Reuters) - Chinese seed firm Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture on Tuesday said it is setting up a corn seed joint venture with China National Agrochemical Co Ltd, a unit of state-owned chemicals giant ChemChina.

Each company will contribute 50 million yuan ($7.90 million) to the Beijing-based venture, which will be called Xianlong Biotechnology Co.

The joint venture will allow further development and sales of new varieties of corn for the Chinese market, said a stock exchange statement, adding it will also promote domestic biotech corn.

China does not allow genetically modified organism (GMO) corn to be planted in the country, although, it has said it was targeting commercialisation of the crop by 2020.

Many local biotech companies have developed varieties of GMO corn suited to the China market, the world’s second-largest producer of corn.

ChemChina, which recently acquired Syngenta, a global powerhouse in GMO crops, is expected to be a major player in the market once commercial planting is permitted.

This deal will help innovate and improve commercialisation of corn seed at our business and its overall structure in China, Longping High-Tech said.

Longping High-Tech is majority-owned by China’s largest conglomerate, CITIC Ltd. CITIC Agri-Fund, backed by CITIC Ltd and Yuan Longping, paid $1.1 billion for part of Dow Chemical’s corn seed business in Brazil last year.

$1 = 6.3255 Chinese yuan Reporting by Dominique Patton, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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