Based in Xi’an city, Shaanxi Province, China, Aiju has grown from the original single flour processing factory to become a major integrated grain and oil group with 15 subsidiaries that sell flour, rice, edible oil, small coarse cereals, cooked food, bean and bean products.
“Aiju Group is mainly focused on household consumption and government institute, enterprises canteens that emphasize food safety,” Xi’an Aiju Chairman Mr. Heyi Jia told World Grain in a recent interview. “The company’s sales network runs throughout Xi’an city and most cities and counties in Shaanxi Province.”
The company operates a soft wheat mill, food manufacturer, rice mill, oil processing, bean and bean products plant. The soft wheat mill, which was partially supplied by Uzwil, Switzerland-based Bühler and commissioned in 2015, has a capacity of 500 tonnes per 24 hours. The flour that the Aiju Group’s mill produces is utilized predominantly to create noodles, dumplings, steamed buns and pancakes. The company’s own food manufacturer uses some of the mill’s wheat flour to produce 15,500 200-gram buns each day.
The Aiju Group’s rice mill has a capacity of 200 tonnes per 24 hours and includes equipment mostly supplied by Hiroshima, Japan-based Satake Group, with some from Bühler.
The company’s oil processing facility has a capacity of 200 tonnes per 24 hours and produces rapeseed oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, soybean milk, tofu, and bean sprout production.
Along with its production lines, the company currently uses 30 silos, each with a total storage capacity of 2,400 tonnes for wheat. The company also utilizes 22 silos, each with a total capacity of 3,000 to hold edible oil. Additionally, the company has 22 smaller silos for edible oil.
The Aiju Group’s main facility is located close to the Xinzhu train station, from which raw material purchased from other cities arrives by rail.
Aiju Group also has a food warehouse base at Xi’an International Port District and bean food industry base at Xi’an Chanba Ecological District. These two facilities are an important part of the sales chain that provides customers flour, rice, oil, main foods like steamed bread and noodles, bean sprouts and bean products to the market.
The Aiju Group utilizes an innovative business model to sell its products in Xi’an and most of the Shaanxi Province. The company sells its products through retail stores and online retailers.
“We follow this model so that consumers can more conveniently, quickly and easily buy grain and oil products with nutrition, health and safety,” Jia said.
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Reliable feed stock
“The group has developed sources of raw materials by establishing long-term cooperative relations with its suppliers,” Jia noted.
In an effort to maintain a reliable source of wheat, the Aiju Group has been developing relationships in Kazakhstan.
“Raw material (wheat) quality problems are the biggest challenge for flour industry in China. So, on one hand, we are looking for a suitable planting base in China. On the other hand, we go out of China, to cooperate with Kazakhstan in building a planting base,” Jia said. “Since 2015, we have had multiple communications with Kazakhstan and visited Kazakhstan for field surveys many times. We find Kazakhstan to be sparsely populated, and its grain and oil products are natural pollution-free and could become our raw material base. So we are developing business in Kazakhstan.”
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To help it meet growing demand, Aiju Group decided to install a new 500-tonne-per-24-hour soft wheat mill that was commissioned in 2015. Aiju Group said 80% of the plant is comprised of Bühler equipment: roller mills MDDP/MDDQ, purifiers MQRF, plansifters MPAP, mixer AFML, destoner MTSD, separator MTRC, TAS cleaning machine and scales.
Other equipment in the mill came from Chinese large-scale manufacturers including Maosheng — vibration sieve, shelling machine, water machine; Anhui Meiya — sorter; Wuxi Xiliang — bran finishers; Liaoyuan — square plansifter; and a Nanyang pulse dust remover.
“Accurate, advanced and scientific machines lead to product quality and safety,” Jia said.
The Aiju Group plans to further expand its production capacity with the installation of a 300-tonne-per-24-hour hard wheat mill set to go into operation in 2017.
“Aiju group will always stick to the food industry. In the future, the group will focus on flour collocation, oil refining and packaging,” Jia told World Grain. “The company aims to become peoples’ ‘kitchen.’ The company wants to control its own grain sources. Its business will include: grain and oil products; cooked food; semi-finished and finished products; non-staple food; packaging bean and bean products; beef and mutton products; imported food trade.”
To achieve these goals, the Aiju Group said it will be constantly improving its cooked food processing research and development. It will also explore imported products and work to improve its existing network system, including electronic commerce.