"Overlooked, underpoliced, and highly lucrative, international wildlife trafficking has become a low-risk/high-return illegal trade estimated at $7 billion to $23 billion annually. While China's share of this trade is unknown due to the trade's illicit nature, China is widely recognized as the world's largest market for trafficked wildlife products. As the Chinese economy has grown, demand for wildlife products--including endangered species--has increased, contributing to the decline in populations of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos, as well as lesser-known species. Three factors play into Chinese demand for wildlife products: (1) wildlife products are valued as status symbols; (2) wildlife products represent a financial asset with stable or increasing value; and (3) wildlife products are perceived to have health benefits related to traditional Asian medicine. Until recently, however, public knowledge in China about wildlife trafficking and conservation efforts has been limited."
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: https://www.uscc.gov/