Henry Wang en Michal Glijer and Jiutai Modern Agriculture.
“E-commerce is big in China. We supply to companies like JD.com,” Henry says. These companies receive the products at a number of distribution centres, after which the fruit is repacked and sold. Another remarkable customer is the airlines. Weekly, Jiutai imports 20 to 30 containers of bananas, a large part of which is handed out in passenger craft. Additionally, the bananas also find their way to supermarkets in China.
Kaopu Specialty Store attracts customers.
Tasting is buying
“In recent years, prices for bananas have been low, but they’re now rapidly rising in late season,” Henry says. The cause is the limited supply from countries in the region. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines have less product available during the late period. “Everyone knows it, so everyone is looking for new markets,” Henry explains. “It’s difficult to find high-quality bananas.” Although TR4 has been a problem for the banana production in Southeast Asia for a longer period, Henry forsees this image. “The scale of the problems isn’t that large yet, the consequences are much more severe in Vietnam or the Philippines.”
The number of customers for specialist’s shops such as the Kaopu chain is quickly increasing. “Young people enjoy buying the products in the shop,” Henry sees. “There’s much potential to open more fruit shops in cities.” Despite the growth, there’s also much competition among retailers. “Competition is good for the sector. You need good quality products at good prices.”
Another important motivation to open specialist’s shops is the direct contact with customers. “We operate in a tasting-economy.” Henry means that flavour of the products is important. “Being able to have customers taste the products is one of the reasons to open a specialist’s shop,” he continues. Knowledge of the products can be spread online, but offline, flavour plays an important part.
Fresher product due to shorter supply chain
Consumers in China spend less money on buying safe and healthy food. They preferably buy as close to the source as possible. “We respond to that with our own shops. We have fewer middlemen and a shorter supply chain, so that we can have fresher products on our shelves.” Besides, they focus on new products, such as new varieties of passion fruit.
Finally, Jiutai has its own brand for citrus, for example. “Our most important brand is 17.8 Degrees Fresh Orange,” Henry explains. Just as with the oranges, melon brand North Latitude 23 Degrees Honey Melon is also focused on the Chinese market. “Citrus and melons are our most important products,” Henry says. Additionally, the assortment consists of products such as coconut, durian, purple mango stone, pomelo, longan and pitaya. The company has its own production locations in Thailand and China, but also imports from the region. “We import red pitaya from Vietnam. This product is becoming increasingly popular among young people. The market for durian is also growing in China.”
For more information:
Jiutai Modern Agriculture
T: +86 591 8376 5275
M: +86 136 8503 3992