Fresh food investment set to soar
Win Chan signs $1.9b of deals with world’s leading meat producers at import exposition
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has inked deals worth $1.9 billion with two of the largest meat producers in the world at the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai, as the e-commerce giant stepped up its push to make its Win Chan platform the biggest in the world for fresh produce.
“Our plan is to connect 100 globally-renowned top-class food suppliers from 40 countries and regions to 600 million consumers in China over the next five years,” said Jin Guanglei, chairman of Win Chan.
The platform has signed a $1.5 billion deal with Brazilian food manufacturer JBS and a $400 million deal with Danish Crown, Europe’s largest pork producer.
“Today we think of China more as a home market than an export market,” said Jais Valeur, CEO of Danish Crown.
It is expected that all of the meat supplied to the platform will be processed by a 17,000square-meter facility invested by Danish Crown earlier this year near Shanghai.
Eduardo Frei Ruiz Tagle, former president of Chile, noted that since China initiated Chile Week in 2014, trade between the two countries has been growing steadily, to nearly $34.6 billion in 2017.
For cherries alone, Chile has been flying 150,000 metric tons of the fruit to China with 60 exclusive flights this year.
“We used to believe fresh foods are the most time and location-sensitive goods that could be only purchased from brick-and-mortar stores nearby. Yet, the soaring market for fresh food e-commerce is not only about boosting the quantity, but also bringing as much of the world to the plate of every Chinese as possible,” said Lu Pengqi, vice-president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Launched in May, Win Chan is a data-driven global sourcing platform dedicated exclusively to fresh produce. It has combined the resources from several investment arms of Alibaba, ranging from cold chain logistics, to online and offline retail like Tmall and supermarket chain RT Mart.
In 2017, China’s fresh produce e-commerce reached close to 145 billion yuan ($20.87 billion) in transaction value, up 58.6 percent year-onyear, according to data company Analysys.
Driven by a variety of factors including urbanization, easier access to mobile payments and more hectic lifestyle, e-commerce market for fresh produce is estimated to surpass 350 billion yuan by the end of 2019.
The lucrative market has also attracted players like Suning, the commercial giant, which has launched its own fresh produce retail chain called Suning Fresh.
The Nanjing-headquartered company announced during the CIIE that it has developed a fresh-food-sourcing network linking 147 countries and regions around the world.
A robot delivers food during the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai.