ince the Chinese Seed Law took effect in 2000, China’s seed industry went commercial and a growing number of companies, including both private, Sino-foreign joint ventures and State-owned enterprises, have sprung up. Official statistics show that China has over 8,000 seed enterprises across the country, with 3,000 of them concentrated in the corn business. Fewer than 100 actually have the capacity to breed, produce and promote their products, however, meaning most are effectively mere wholesalers.
To make matters worse, less than 1.5 percent of seed companies have the capability to conduct their own research and development, placing them far behind their overseas competitors. The first central government policy document issued in 2016 described it as a “priority” for Chinese companies to engage in scientific agricultural research, with officials calling for an upgrading of seed production to meet the broader goal of full agricultural mechanization.