(Yicai Global) Jan. 23 -- The rise of Chinese e-commerce channels is helping Chile become one of the most successful fruit suppliers for China.
The first batch of containers of Chilean nectarines arrived in Guangzhou port in southern China on Jan. 12. These nectarines, along with Chilean cherries and blueberries, hit shelves in local supermarkets as well as e-commerce platforms the following day.
The natural complementarity between China and Latin America gives an advantage to Chilean fruits in the Chinese market, Charif Christian Carvajal, market director of Eurasian and Middle East for Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX), told Yicai Global.
The Chinese market for Chilean nectarines officially opened at the end of 2016. Chile usually exports nectarines from November to March, which coincides with an off season for that fruit in China, meaning Chilean nectarines will not directly compete will local ones, Carvajal said. Chilean imports will allow Chinese to enjoy nectarines all year, he said.
Chilean fruits have obvious advantages, said Yang Zhikun, a Shanghai-based imported fruit seller. Chilean producers can yield more per unit area of cultivated land than Chinese counterparts, Yang said.
Chilean producers breed for different countries based on consumer demand, Yang said. "Chinese favor big and sweet fruits," he said. "Then such characteristics are cultivated for the Chinese market."
"E-commerce platforms exhaust their cash supply and provide subsidies, which enables consumers to enjoy quality imported fruits with lower prices, and helps suppliers to reduce promotion costs," Yang said.
Several Chinese e-commerce platforms, including Tmall and Freshhema, have partnered with ASOEX, per the association's website.
"According to a third-party survey, the sales of Chilean blueberries in the Chinese offline fruit chain stores are still the highest, followed by the supermarkets and e-commerce platforms," said Andres Armstrong, executive director of the Chilean Blueberry Association. "They are not as high as we imagined."