When we met on Wednesday, May 31, Mr Jiang said that suppliers would be paid by that afternoon, if not by the end of the week.
But as of two weeks later, on Wednesday, June 14, Mr Jiang said they had not got the money from the Chinese parent company they had expected, which was needed to pay suppliers. However, he said they will be paying suppliers a small amount soon and hoped to pay the balance within two weeks.
Asked to explain the company’s hierarchy, Mr Jiang said Hengyang Group was the parent company, based in northern China, and HY Tabro Meats, and HY Moe Meats, are the two subsidiary companies in Victoria – of which he is a director of both.
“I am stressed, and a little embarrassed by our current situation, as we want to expand our business to include Wagyu, among other lines of beef to China,” Mr Jiang said. “We are looking at other possibilities too, but these must remain confidential for now.”
For Tabro Meats to return to a full day’s kill, and for Moe Meats to reopen, Mr Jiang understands fully that they will have to rebuild the trust of agents and producers alike. Mr Jiang said the parent company needed to see a margin between the price of meat here in Australia, and China, and until that happened, while the business would remain open, it would be a difficult time for them.
“We are paying about 20 staff at Moe Meats, and 100 at Tabor Meats at Wonthaggi,” Mr Jiang said. “While not all employees are working a full week, some only two or so days, we have to keep them, as it would be very hard to find employees if we closed fully for a time.”
Mr Jiang, earlier this year at the Australia China Business Association at Traralgon, said that food safety issues, that emerged in China back in 2013-2014, created a need for “clean, green products” from Australia.
However, further complicating matters were the shrinking cattle herd of China.
China has made reasonable inroads into agriculture in this country, buying dairy farms, as well beef properties. One can only hope the farming enterprises are run effectively.
Mr Jiang has been noted saying, “We are looking for a better margin from our product.” This is goal shared by other processing plants in Australia. But is it acceptable for the owners of Tabro and Moe to operate in the manner they have?