山东省威海市文登区畜牧局副局长王永泉告诉我们，2014 年，文登区皮草出口量同比下降了 30%。一直以来，俄罗斯都是该地区皮草业务的最大海外市场。
自去年 9 月以来，皮草价格持续走低。举例而言，2013 年，公貂皮最高可卖到 300 元（48 美金）或更高，而母貂皮最高售价也可达 200 元。但到了 2014 年，公貂皮均价却一路走低，跌至 180 元。
根据中国食品土畜进出口商会裘皮分会，去年前 11 个月的生裘皮出口量共计 600 万公斤，与 2013 年 750 万公斤的出口量相比降幅明显。
“很多养殖户都在囤积皮草，待今年价格上涨后再行出售”，王永泉说，“毛皮动物养殖量在 2014 年下降了 30% 至 40%。
文登区拥有 8600 多家农场，共饲养了 1400 万只毛皮动物，其中包括大约 700 万只水貂和 200 万只狐狸。这些农场掌握着国内水貂产量的近三分之一。
但他又补充道，疲软的市场也对整个行业敲响了警钟。鉴于小型个体养殖户仍然是整个行业的中坚力量，人们必须采取有效措施进一步巩固行业。目前，中国尚无国家级毛皮拍卖系统，整个行业仍主要依赖于 10 个贸易市场，将养殖户和制造企业联系在一起。
在 2014 年，该公司已投入了 3000 万人民币，进口了 3 万只白水貂，它们的毛皮预计将在今年 8 月上市。与饲养国内品种相比，这些进口水貂产出的利润要高出两倍。
国产水貂皮可卖到 180 元一张，而进口品种的价格则高达 600 元。
文登奥吉丽斯貂业有限公司在 2013 至 2014 年从丹麦共进口了 45,000 只水貂。该公司每年可产 40,000 张水貂皮，但它的服装业务每年却需要 150,000 张貂皮，文登奥吉丽斯貂业有限公司总经理周光宇说。
Mink farmers in China had a harsh winter as prices and demand fell in reaction to weak markets in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Wang Yongquan, deputy head of the Husbandry Bureau in the Wendeng district of Weihai, a city in East China’s Shandong province, said the export volume of fur in 2014 in Wendeng decreased 30 percent year-on-year. Russia has long been its largest foreign market.
Fur prices have been low since September, said Wang. For example, the price for a male mink’s pelt was 300 yuan （$48） or more, and that of a female was 200 yuan, at the peak in 2013. But in 2014, male pelts were priced at an average of 180 yuan.
According to the China Fur Association, exports of raw fur products in the first 11 months of last year totaled 6 million kilograms, down from 7.5 million kg in 2013.
“Many farmers are holding back their furs and waiting for the price to surge this year,” Wang said. “The number of farmed fur animals was reduced 30 to 40 percent in 2014.”
Wendeng district is home to more than 8,600 farms that raise 14 million fur-bearing animals. Of those, about 7 million are minks and 2 million are foxes. These farms account for about one-third of domestic mink production.
Mink farming is concentrated in Shandong, Liaoning and Hebei provinces. Shandong is by far the dominant source, accounting for over 76 percent of total mink products, according to the CFA.
Sun Kai, secretary-general of the Textile and Garment Chamber’s fur branch at the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce, said that slowing global demand for fur products has had a major impact on farmers in Shandong province and a lesser effect on producers in Northeast China. “About one-fifth of farmers will be driven out of the market this year,” said Sun.
But he said that the sluggish market is a warning to the industry that it must further consolidate, given that small, individual farmers are still a majority of the industry. There is no national auction system for fur, and the sector mainly relies on 10 trading markets that connect farmers and manufacturing companies.
Shandong is viewed as a province that produces low- and medium-end fur products, so farming companies there are now scrambling to meet rising domestic demand for high-end fur products.
“The best mink is now sold to China. We should grab that market by raising the best breeds,” said Lin Zijun, general manager of Weihai Shengtaiyuan Mink Industry Co Ltd.
China is currently the world’s largest importer of fur. Demand is also strong in North America, Europe and Russia. There are also eager customers in developing markets such as Ukraine, Turkey and Kazakhstan.
The biggest exporter of fur is Europe, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
The key to improving the quality of domestic fur in China is the introduction of foreign breeds. But the challenges lies in raising them, said Lin.
“Our farming facilities are world-class.
“The composition of feed and breeding procedures are the most difficult issues,” said Lin. He hired foreign breeding and farming experts to work at his farm in Shandong.
“It takes the same amount of time and energy, but the turnover is much higher than can be achieved from farming domestic mink,” said Lin.
The company invested more than 30 million yuan to import 30,000 white mink in 2014, and their pelts are expected to go on sale starting from August. The profits are likely to be at least double those achieved by raising domestic breeds, he said.
Furs from domestic breeds are being sold at 180 yuan, but imported breeds can fetch 600 yuan, said Lin.
Wendeng Aogilleace Mink Industry Co Ltd imported 45,000 mink from Denmark between 2013 and 2014. The company produces 40,000 mink pelts each year, but the clothing operations of the company require 150,000 pelts annually, said Zhou Guangyu, manager at Aogilleace.
He said many of his peers in Shandong cut their production in half this year as they wait for the Eastern European market to pick up.
“The future of the market is in China,” said Lin.