Last year, domestic production reached 224.58m tons, according to official figures, and corn has become China's most important variety of food crop.
However, only around one-third of it is eaten directly while the rest is used as fodder or industrial material.
According to a new report by analyst Research and Markets, macroeconomic situations exert greater influence on corn than on other staples such as wheat and rice. In recent years, the demand for corn in China has stayed high due to increased economic development and improvements in average living standards.
As China develops, the demand for meat, eggs and milk will keep increasing alongside demand for grains used as fodder. However, due to the deepening urbanisation and low gains of planting industry, increasingly more rural workers move to cities for jobs instead of engaging in agriculture.
In the long-term, China will to remain the largest grain importer in the future, R&M says. As planting space needed to grow the country’s corn yield is limited, the demand gap will expand further.
The annual import of corn and its substitutes is expected to surpass 10m tons in the next few years, making China a substantial investment opportunity for grain growers and trade companies, the analyst predicts.