9-kg of cherries were shipped to China in 2012 by Northwest Cherry
Growers in the US US and that acts as a brake on sales in China.
US pear producers also face stiff competition from their counterparts in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile and South Africa — leaving aside growers in China itself, which is the world’s largest producer, meaning supplies are plentiful and cheap.
Australia and Chile also compete with the US in selling cherries.
Fruit dealers attribute the surge of imported fruit to the growing number of people living in cities and who have larger disposable incomes that mean they can afford more diverse diets, including expensive, protein-rich foodstuffs.
In addition, e-commerce has brought foreign products to central and western inland regions, an undertapped market with great potential and, thanks to e-commerce, produce can be delivered to people’s homes within two or three days after it arrives in the country.
Free trade zones are also helping. Shanghai newspaper The Paper said the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone opened a fruitspecific port in June, reducing customs processing to six hours, ensuring freshness and cutting logistical costs by 30 percent.
Young people are the main customers of imported fruit, as they are willing to pay a premium for higher-end products, which they often buy online.
Li Yi, of Beijing, said she has bought imported fruit and vegetables since she became pregnant because overseas producers have better quarantine and safety standards.
“Imported fruit and vegetables adhere to international safety standards rather than Chinese laws. QR codes can be scanned to reveal details about products and the companies producing them, so I think they are safer than what is produced in China.”
Hoa Van Huynh (center), director of the Agricultural Trade Office of US Consulate General in Guangzhou, and Jeff Correa, director of international marketing for Pear Bureau Northwest, at the 2015 roadshow of US pears in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.