In less than a decade, China has gone from relative obscurity as a market for New Zealand's meat exports, to become by far the biggest destination for both sheepmeat and beef.
In 2010, China accounted for 8 per cent of sheepmeat exports, taking 29,823 tonnes, worth $120 million.
Last year, China represented 54 per cent of sheepmeat exports - 212,219 tonnes, worth $1.6 billion.
It's a similar story for beef.
In 2010 it represented just 1 per cent of New Zealand beef exports, taking 2430 tonnes.
Last year, China represented 48 per cent, or 220,065 tonnes, of beef exports, worth $1.7b and surpassing the United States as the biggest export destination.
New Zealand sheepmeat and beef exports in total jumped 6 per cent to $9.1b in 2019, with most of that growth driven by China.
"The influence of China on the world's meat market has been enormous," says Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie.
"There is that need for protein as incomes lift," he says. "There is more discretionary money in the system and sheepmeat is a natural part of their cuisine."
The outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in 2018, which depleted China's pork stocks, has played a part in that growth story as China sought alternative protein sources.
But Ritchie says the trend of heavily increasing demand from China - driven by improved incomes - would have continued even without the onset of ASF.
"We have gone away from the traditional sheepmeat market of the United Kingdom and Europe because of that massive expansion of demand out of China," Ritchie says.
Over the last 10 years, sheepmeat has led the way in China, followed by beef.
China is mostly self-sufficient in sheepmeat, but Ritchie says expansion in demand has been met by imports.
That means a small change in the market in China - up or down - can have a significant impact.
He says the 2008 Free Trade Agreement was something of a sea change.
But he says another, lesser known agreement, that involved China recognising New Zealand's halal slaughter system, helped pave the way for New Zealand producers to cater to China's substantial Muslim population.
Ritchie says much of the growth in sheepmeat and beef consumption can be put down to the success of that agreement.
But while China has been a big success story for New Zealand red meat exports, Ritchie cautions that commodities markets can change quickly.
Once coronavirus is in decline, will market conditions for the New Zealand meat trade return to normal? "One would expect so, but nothing is forever," he says. "Markets can change very quickly."
Simon Limmer, chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, says prices have become more volatile since the outbreak in China.
"We are starting to see the supply chain moving again, so it's just a bit of a juggling act on a daily basis until we have confidence that China is back in business again," Limmer said on the NZME radio show The Country.
"Ultimately we are all worried about where it might go to."
"I'm optimistic that if we can see China come back on line, and we are starting to see signals of that, that we will see some stability come back into the business," he says.
Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's biggest meat processor and marketer, is 50 per cent owned by China's Shanghai Maling.