After four decades of relying heavily on overseas markets, Liu Haiyan has now turned to the domestic market for her primary customers.
Liu's company, Shandong Lufeng Co, in Anqiu, Shandong province, processes more than 1,000 varieties of food products, including frozen meat, cooked meat and frozen vegetables. It exports to Japan, the United States and Europe.
She said her biggest advantage over domestic competitors is that her products conform to U.S., Japanese and European standards.
"We use the same standards and the same factories to produce the same products for domestic markets," said Liu, the company's general manager. "Our overseas markets are stable, but the domestic market has expanded in the past three years. People are paying more attention to quality of life－and the quality of products they buy."
The company sold 2 billion yuan's (4 million) worth of products last year, of which 1.4 billion yuan came from the domestic market.
Liu said local governments' efforts to create demonstration areas to elevate the overall quality of agricultural products ensure that the company's products meet foreign standards.
Shandong province was certified on Friday by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine－the top quality watchdog－as China's first demonstration province for the safety of food and agricultural products for export.
The province sold 107.5 billion yuan's worth of agricultural products in overseas markets last year, accounting for 25 percent of the country's total agricultural exports, according to the provincial government.
The province has ranked first in the country for agricultural exports for 18 consecutive years.
More than 99.95 percent of agricultural products the province exported met the standards required by the destination countries last year.
To date, the national administration has certified 291 national-level demonstration areas across China to promote the overall quality of agricultural products.
In the demonstration areas, a series of measures, including enhanced cooperation between different government departments and strict controls on the use of pesticides, are enforced.
"Every week, people from the local quality supervision and inspection authorities come to my farm to inspect whether my plants meet the requirements in terms of using pesticides," said Yu Haiyang, a farmer in Jiaojiazhuang village in Anqiu, a county certified as the first national-level demonstration area for the safety of exported agricultural products.
"Without strict regulations from local authorities on the use of pesticides, we would have to establish our own to ensure quality of our farms, which would not only cost more but has the potential to be polluted by other people's farmland," Liu said.
Zhong Yuhua, general manager of Qingdao Fusheng Foodstuff Co, said: "Usually products meeting the standards of countries like Japan, the US and the European Union have easier access to the domestic market, as those countries have higher requirements on food quality."
Zhong started to explore the domestic market in 2014.
He predicted it will account for 40 percent of the company's total sales this year.