When Red in China Means Progress

A microalgae plant in Shilin, China, welcomed the VIRGO filming crew with cooler temperatures, fresh air and a window into the investment China is making in its future.

Steve Myers, Senior Editor

July 10, 2014

2 Min Read
When Red in China Means Progress

Southwest China’s Yunnan province has offered us a new perspective and a change of pace. Shilin, an hour outside the city of Kunming, welcomed the VIRGO filming crew with cooler temperatures, fresh air and a window into the investment China is making in its future.

Massive development is occurring in Shilin, as well as all around Kunming. While the modern housing buildings and surrounding infrastructural improvements appear to move forward at a fast clip, careful planning is at play. In this town enveloped by the thousands of dolomite limestone pillars (called Karst formations) that are showcased in the nearby Naigu Stone Forest, street lights feature both solar and wind energy.

Amid this widespread development is a new astaxanthin cultivation plant run by BGG, the underwriter of our project here in China. The GinkoAsta facility makes art of glass tubes and microalgae. True to the area, the rows of closed system cultivation runs are split up into different ground levels and display a well-choreographed spectrum of colors, from the clear cleaning solution to the various hues of early greens and final reds. There are endless photo opportunities, especially when you factor in the background of rolling hills and mountains.

Scott Donaldson, producer, VIRGO TV, and Jon Benninger, vice president of VIRGO's Health & Nutrition Network, explore the GinkoAsta facility in Shilin, China, which is an astaxanthin cultivation plant run by BGG.

We are here at GinkoAsta to learn about investment in modern techniques, coupled with careful consideration of environment, conservation and sustainability, is not only helping to meet the growing demand for natural  astaxanthin worldwide, but also demonstrating how Chinese companies are rapidly moving toward a successful future by paying attention to the details of quality control (QC) and regulatory demands.

We enjoyed a brief introduction to GinkoAstin—and another fantastic Chinese roundtable dinner—on our first sunny afternoon in Shilin, and today we will talk to the experts running the facility, plunging into the details of the investment, capacity and operations at this one-year old modern cultivation plant. Each day of our journey here in China has gifted us with treasures, and we eagerly await the new knowledge today will offer.

About the Author(s)

Steve Myers

Senior Editor

Steve Myers is a graduate of the English program at Arizona State University. He first entered the natural products industry and Virgo Publishing in 1997, right out of college, but escaped the searing Arizona heat by relocating to the East Coast. He left Informa Markets in 2022, after a formidable career focused on financial, regulatory and quality control issues, in addition to writing stories ranging research results to manufacturing. In his final years with the company, he spearheaded the editorial direction of Natural Products Insider.

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