The state-owned conglomerate set to host this year's China Fisheries and Seafood Show has entered an agreement to acquire Chinese tilapia giant Baiyang Industry Investment Group.

A "strategic cooperation agreement" was signed between Baiyang and Qingdao-based Guoxin Blue Silicon Valley Development, according to a release on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange Monday.

The two firms will join forces in domestic and foreign aquaculture production to build a "bigger and stronger" marine industry, the companies said.

Details of the agreement are said to be in discussion, and a Baiyang spokesperson contacted by IntraFish declined to comment.

The company involved in the deal is controlled by Guoxing Development Group, which in turn owns Qingdao Financial Holding, executives of which signed the deal with Baiyang owners Sun Zhongyi and Cai Jing on Dec. 23.

Founded in 2000, Baiyang employs 3,967 workers and ships 2,000 containers of farmed tilapia a year. Once heavily reliant on the US market, Baiyang made moves towards market diversification ahead of the tariff war still ongoing between Chinese and US governments, but faced challenges from producers such as Vietnam.

Despite a bullish outlook from the company when IntraFish spoke to Baiyang Assistant CMO Jason Carter in May, the company's earnings have suffered, further exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus outbreak which sent its share price crashing almost 10 percent at the beginning of February after a 10-day closure of China's stock markets.

The fall wiped CNY 196 million (€25.5 million/$27.4 million) off Baiyang's market capitalization, as the Chinese government stopped trading across several markets to prevent stock price falls below the allowed daily limit.

Guoxin is involved in a raft of industries, including real estate, tourism marine engineering and medicine. It also has existing involvement in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors and is the company behind the new home for Seafare's annual China Fisheries and Seafood Show.

Baiyang's share price over the last five years. Photo: Bloomberg/IntraFish