Main­lan­ders chase over­seas foods in HK

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By CHAIHUA in Shen­zhen grace@chi­nadai­

Ja­panese brand Cal­bee’s break­fast ce­real with dried fruit and nuts has been on the must­buy list of main­land shop­pers in Hong Kong.

The break­fast ce­real’s price is about triple that of other oat­meal. But in just one year, it has gar­nered a 1.7 per­cent mar­ket share and dou­bled the sales of break­fast ce­real cat­e­gory in China, ac­cord­ing to global re­search com­pany Kan­tarWorld­panel.

Ev­i­dently, Chi­nese con­sumers are will­ing to pay more for a high­qual­ity prod­uct.

This will­ing­ness may save the slug­gish fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods mar­ket, whose sales grew just 3.5 per­cent in 2015, a fiveyear low, ac­cord­ing to the China Shop­per Re­port 2016 pub­lished by Bain & Com­pany and Kan­tar World­panel.

Jeff Wil­liamson, di­rec­tor of Cal­i­for­nia State Trade and Ex­port Pro­mo­tion, at­trib­uted the ris­ing de­mand to the in­creas­ing pur­chas­ing power of mid­dle and up­per classes in China.

Wil­liamson made the re­marks at the 27th Food Expo in Hong Kong in mid-Au­gust. He said, “There are about 225 mil­lion mid­dle class peo­ple and an­other 60 to 70 mil­lion up­per class peo­ple in China, so the mar­ket over­all is al­most larger than that in the United States.”

Au­then­tic, orig­i­nal prod­ucts, par­tic­u­larly foods, are shap­ing buy­ing de­ci­sions now, he later told China Daily, adding health foods from Cal­i­for­nia are do­ing very well in China.

The Crunchies Nat­u­ral Food Com­pany this year launched freeze-dried fruit prod­ucts in Hong Kong, where many main­lan­ders buy high-qual­ity im­ported foods.

Prod­ucts like gro­ceries and cer­tain food items bought in Hong Kong in mod­er­ate quan­ti­ties for per­sonal use are ex­empt from cus­toms and im­port du­ties for main­land vis­i­tors back across the bor­der.

Typ­i­cally, main­land vis­i­tors buy im­ported milk, cos­met­ics, di­a­pers and lux­ury bags in Hong Kong be­cause of rel­a­tively low prices and high qual­ity.

But such ex­emp­tions ap­pli­ca­ble to elec­tronic and ap­pli­ances.

As­tor Kwong, head of sales for the Asia Pa­cific Con­sumer Prod­ucts Di­vi­sion, CrunchiesNat­u­ral, said baby and chil­dren prod­ucts are re­ceived “very well” in the Hong Kong mar­ket.

As top-qual­ity snacks are priced rel­a­tively higher, Kwong said the com­pany also de­vel­oped smaller, low-priced pack­ages to make in­roads into the Hong Kong and main­land mar­kets.

It’s a strat­egy used by other brands as well.

Wu Ting, a dis­trib­u­tor of a chili sauce made by US-based Huy Fong Foods Inc, said the price of 9 oz (255g) bot­tle is about 20 yuan in China’s su­per­mar­kets – about the same as a lo­cal brand.

But the im­ported sauce is bet­ter be­cause it is fresh and health­ful, she said, adding the man­u­fac­tur­ing process takes only two hours, from pluck­ing chili to pack­ing the sauce in a bot­tle, with­out adding wa­ter or pig­ments.

Up to 400 tons of the sauce have been ex­ported to China and Hong Kong so far, and the com­pany ex­pects rapid growth in sales, she said.

Be­sides foods, high-qual­ity im­ported goods for ev­ery­day use en­joy de­mand from main­land vis­i­tors in Hong King.

Ray Schuschu, vice-pres­i­dent of in­ter­na­tional sales at Earth Friendly Prod­ucts, a US-based brand of plant-de­rived clean­ing prod­ucts, said the firm’s busi­ness in China is grow­ing at 10 per­cent an­nu­ally.

He said Chi­nese fam­i­lies, es­pe­cially those with chil­dren, are be­com­ing “more aware of what they are clean­ing their house with”. to bring are not gad­gets

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