Mr Branson made an appeal against the consumption of shark fins to a group of 30 of China’s richest and most influential business people in Shanghai.
Every year, the fins of up to 73 million sharks are harvested and sold, most of which end up on the menus of luxury restaurants in China and Hong Kong.
The event, which saw the Virgin founder joined by retired Chinese basketball star Yao Ming, was sponsored by conservation group WildAid, who unveiled a television campaign to highlight the project.
"The world is getting wealthier. In China in particular people are getting more affluent. And they can now afford to buy shark fin soup. So it is a major problem. And therefore, there is a major battle to try to reverse that trend," said Branson.
Despite moves to ban the trade and consumption of shark fins around the globe – the state of California recently passed a law banning the possession, sale or trade of them – 95 per cent are consumed in China where a kilo of the delicacy trades for around two-thousand yuan, or £200, at Shanghai’s seafood markets.
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