The meat company which led the way in developing the sheepmeat trade to China, the Alliance Group, is wary of becoming too dependent on that market.
China has become New Zealand's biggest market for sheepmeat and Alliance chief executive Grant Cuff said the ongoing demand from China for lamb and mutton had underpinned global supply and pricing, which was reflected in the co-operative's improved financial result.
However, he said it was taking a cautious approach with China.
"It's been a 15 year exercise or more, coming through to this stage, and we'll watch the size of China. We would like to back off a little in our mutton products in particular over the next 12 months, just to get a better balance," he said.
Mr Cuff said that balance meant focusing on new markets as well. He said the co-operative was continually looking at the best markets for the reduced volume of products it had available, while at the same time continuing to look for the new markets that would provide growth over the next few years.
He cited Brazil and India as examples of markets it would keep focusing on.