China has experienced rapid economic growth over the last 26 years. As per capita income has increased, household consumption has become greatly diversified, and many food new products have entered the market. Beef is slowly gaining ground relative to the more traditional pork products. This research examined factors affecting beef purchasing decisions in China. The effect of socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, together with other influences on preferences, was analysed using probit regression analysis. Compared with other meats, the relatively high price of beef (34%) and consumers' unfamiliarity with its cooking method (26%) are the main limitations for beef consumption. These are followed by 'don't like the taste and smell' which shows that compared with pork, beef is still relatively new to Chinese consumers and some of them are not used to the flavour of beef products. Han Chinese are more ready to accept beef than Non-Han Chinese. The characteristics of target consumers who show a preference towards beef are: residents of urban areas, a small family or a family with more males over 16 years old, the young (below 45 years old) and well educated, possessing a good income and who considered safety, price and ease of preparation as important purchasing criteria.