Fresh food in­vest­ment set to soar

Win Chan signs $1.9b of deals with world’s lead­ing meat pro­duc­ers at im­port ex­po­si­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO - By XU JUNQIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

A ro­bot de­liv­ers food dur­ing the on­go­ing China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shang­hai.

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