(Yicai Global) Aug. 2 -- Canadian seafood producer 50N Natural Ecology Group is anticipating for the first China International Import Expo to be held in November and Leo Liu, general manager of the firm, gave an exclusive interview to Yicai Global.
Yicai Global: What are your expectations for the CIIE? Will you bring in some new products?
Liu: "We previously took Canada and the US as our main markets. Canada, as everyone knows, is a perfect choice for agricultural production whether in terms of its air, water resources, or soil quality. As an agricultural powerhouse, Canada is home to a multitude of products that are complementary to those in China."
"This time, we hope to take advantage of the CIIE platform to introduce some premium products of Canada to China so that the Chinese consumers can feel the quality of this produce and eventually it can become a mainstream choice. Alongside the aquatic products, we also offer products that are beneficial for children's nutrition, as well as those that are tailored for the high-income population and seniors."
"We will also introduce some other special Canadian products, such as maple syrup, which is a kind of liquid extracted from maple leaves native to Canada. This contains more than 30 minerals necessary for the human body."
"Our salmon, oysters, lobster, and other aquatic products have not entered the Chinese market before, and we hope to enter the Chinese market with the help of the import expo. Of course, we will make relevant adjustments to cater to the tastes of Chinese consumers, for instance, processing our products into forms that are more approachable to the Chinese families, such as fish balls and dried fish floss."
Yicai Global: What is the current trade situation between the company and Chinese firms? What are your expectations for sales?
Liu: "China-bound sales account for less than 5 percent of the total of our aquatic products as we have mainly targeted customers in Europe and North America. Online shopping platforms in China, including JD Global and Tmall International, are currently the main channels through which we sell our products to Chinese consumers. In other words, we are still testing the waters by temporarily putting suitable products on these platforms as online sales of some fresh foods are banned amid sales restrictions. But we hope to go further to bring some newly developed products to China."
Yicai Global: You have just mentioned that most of your products have never entered the Chinese market. What localization measures will you take to enable your products to find a place in the huge Chinese market?
Liu: "We have the complete confidence to promote our products in China’s first- and second-tier cities. Reports we collected indicate that taste is always a focus of attention despite the Chinese mainland market is an uncharted territory for some of our products. A great variety of nutrition-rich foods do not taste good for teenagers, so we engaged professors from the University of British Columbia to help us make foods suiting the tastes of teenagers."
"By the time of the fair, we will also invite the aforesaid professors to the venue of the CIIE to give a lecture on food science in a move to convey ideas of healthy diets to more consumers. Besides, we also hired professors of water quality research from Stanford University to help us promote alkaline water which boosts metabolism to clean toxins of the body."
"Our research and development team is focused on the Chinese dietary therapy in the traditional sense, namely building a healthy body inside and outside through a reasonable diet. To this end, we made efforts to meet the diverse demand from different human body parts for nutrients. For instance, given that the Chinese consumers from different regions with different climate conditions have different demands for nutrition, we rolled out a series of customized products for each group."
Yicai Global: The Chinese government has launched a series of measures to deepen the opening-up. What are your feelings about these measures from the perspective of a Canadian firm?
Liu: "As a company, we care most about the place we have in the mind of consumers, and then the price. Regarding our feelings in the Chinese market, we feel very glad that it now generally takes only 36 hours to transport our products to China and sell them given the convenient logistics conditions."
"Shanghai has put a policy of priority customers declaration into place, which means that our products can go through the customs with the help of our Chinese partners two hours before the flight arrives, and then become available the minute the flight lands," Liu concluded.
The CIIE will be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10.
Editor: Emmi Laine