The market of foreign milk powder in China is larger than the drug market, a Chinese student said

The market of foreign milk powder in China is larger than the drug market, a Chinese student said


The great demand of imported milk powder from mainland China since the 2008 milk scandal has received strong complaints from the Hong Kong due to the milk powder shortage from time to time. Under pressure, the HK government has issued new policy beginning on March 1 2013, stating that the export of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months, including milk powder and soya milk powder will be prohibited without a license, and individuals aged 16 or older will be allowed to pass through customs with only two cans of 0.9 kilo.

With the new milk power limit being effective in Hong Kong, people from mainland China just can’t stop to find different channels to get access to the cheap imported foreign milk powder brands. Supported by the huge market, the infamous milk powder traffickers have turned to other international markets such as Australia resulting in the growing business of trafficking milk powder from oversea market. That’s why a Chinese student studying in Australia commented that the market of foreign milk powder in China is even larger than the drug market which attracts many students into this business.

People’s worship of the imported milk power started with the 2008 Chinese milk scandal (melamine contamination) which ended up with six infants dying from kidney stones and other kidney damage and an estimated 54,000 babies being hospitalized. It was a sad story, but why people still can’t get out of the crisis 5 years later? The reasoning of this social phenomenon could be as follows:

  1. 2008 milk scandal is not the kind of rare food safety crisis, it is just a very typical case, and people are getting used to various food safety scandals;
  2. Food-borne disease are common which scare people a lot;
  3. People don’t want to risk to buy milk powder products manufactured in China for their babies;
  4. Chinese people are getting richer and richer and they are willing to pay extra for milk power under foreign brands that make them feel safe.

Thus it is widely agreed that the government should lower the import tax rate of the foreign milk powder products which would certainly save a lot of unnecessary costs such as the milk powder trafficking.

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