New Zealand seafood exporters to try out ASMI-inspired online marketing campaign in China
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has joined forces for the first time with China's most popular business-to-consumer online shopping platform Tmall.com, to promote New Zealand seafood in a week-long campaign.
The promotion with Tmall.com will take place between 9-15 April, allowing Chinese shoppers to buy live seafood fresh from the sea in New Zealand, then have it packaged and air freighted to Shanghai within 36 hours. Within 72 hours, the seafood orders will be delivered to Chinese consumers across the country. The New Zealand products available for sale include paua, greenshell mussels and Bluff and Pacific oysters.
The ability to sell and deliver live seafood to Chinese consumers is a significant milestone. A similar Tmall.com campaign with Alaskan seafood last year resulted in a total of 50 metric tonnes supplied to Chinese consumers.
Online shopping is a major trend in China. In 2013, the number of online shoppers surged to 302 million, surpassing the number of American online shoppers for the third year. Capitalising on growing demand from China for imported food, Tmall.com is continuing to build its fresh food platform through this joint promotion with NZTE.
Mike Arand, NZTE Trade Commissioner in Shanghai, said: "This channel gives New Zealand companies access to efficient and scalable ways to expand sales in China, so we are very excited to have our first New Zealand promotion with Tmall.com.
"Tmall.com is known not only in China, but around the world for their online sales and logistics expertise, and New Zealand is well known in China for fresh and safe seafood, so we think this is an excellent combination and look forward to a successful ongoing partnership."
China is New Zealand's largest seafood market. Last year, exports topped $376 million - up 19% on the previous year. Total international seafood sales have grown in the last 20 years from $500 million to $1.5 billion.
Head of International Business Development at Tmall.com, Janet Wang, said: "Through this collaboration with NZTE, Tmall.com hopes to provide the most authentic, fresh and nutritious food from New Zealand to China. We look forward to future cooperation to bring richer, affordable and tasty produce from New Zealand to Chinese consumers."
The supply chain manager for this week-long promotion is Oceanus, who have been importing, promoting and distributing New Zealand seafood in China since 2011. It is their supply chain and logistics that make it possible to achieve the milestone of transporting and delivering live New Zealand seafood within 36 hours to Chinese consumers.
New Zealand companies taking part in the campaign include PauaCo, Pure New Zealand Greenshell Mussels, Ngāi Tahu Seafood, Pacific Marine Farms and Talley's, as well as several wine companies.
Trade Minister Tim Groser gave his support to the cooperation while in China with the Prime Minister last month, saying a marriage between New Zealand's food, seafood and wine and Tmall.com's great e-commerce strength is a marriage made in heaven.
China is now Vietnam's 4th largest seafood market
China has emerged as the fourth largest importer of Vietnamese seafood lagging behind the US, Japan and the EU, and it is predicted to be a major Vietnamese seafood consumer in the coming years.
However, economists warn Vietnamese businesses will find it more difficult to break into this volatile market as competitive pressure is intensifying.
Pressure from China
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) reports China is a huge lucrative market for Vietnamese seafood for a number of reasons. It is close to the country which readily translates into lower transport costs. In addition, Vietnam can optionally transport products via land or sea routes on an economical and timely basis.
Furthermore, administrative quality procedures are not as strictly enforced as in other markets, reducing unnecessary administrative and other burdensome costs associated with long delays in transport and endless haggling and over technical matters.
Exports to China have surged sharply over the past 5 years, and shrimp exports have made a significant contribution to the common growth. The proportion of shrimp among total seafood exports to China rose from 13% in 2003 to 64% in 2011, 60% in 2012 and 66.6% in 2013.
Despite the global shrinking market, exports of key products to China have grown and flourished over the years, with shrimp rising 38.2%, Tra fish 23%, and octopus 4%. China is the fourth largest consumer of shrimp and the fifth of octopus from Vietnam.
China has recently introduced new regulations on protection of aquatic resources, but its seafood import-export scheme has not yet been completed.
Read more: China is now Vietnam's 4th largest seafood market
UK seals trade links with China
MoU signed to protect and foster fish exports to China. Fishing trade links between the UK and China were strengthened in a move that will help safeguard exports worth £70 million (€84.6 million/$116 million) each year.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Chinese Minister for Import Controls Zhi Shuping to better share information on import and export requirements, and to notify each other of any changes.
This will help predict and resolve any issues around import and export of fish before they arise.
The agreement will particularly benefit the Scottish fishing industry, as Scottish salmon accounts for the majority of the current £70 million (€84.6 million/$116 million) fish exports to China.
"This agreement is a great boost for our fishing industry as it will help safeguard the growing export market in China for quality British produce, such as Scottish salmon," Environment Minister Owen Paterson said.
"I’m delighted that we have signed this MoU, and look forward to discussing the issue further with my UK counterparts," Minister Zhi said.
"China is the fastest growing market in the world," said Claire Urry, executive director of China-Britain Business Council.
"In the agriculture, food and drink sectors, where there are growing opportunities for UK business, bi-lateral agreements are often required to facilitate the opening of new export markets."