Shine Muscat, a grape variety that is very popular in Korea these days, is making inroads in the Chinese market.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. (aT), exports of Korean grapes reached US$13 million by the end of October this year, up 35 percent from the same period last year.
Analysts say the reason why export volume growth is far higher than the 23 percent increase in exports is because Korean grapes are increasing their share in foreign premium markets. The number one contributor is the variety called Shine Muscat, which accounts for more than 90 percent of exports, and is especially popular in the Chinese and Southeast Asian markets.
Last year, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Singapore were the top four export destinations for Korean grapes, with exports accounting for 82 percent of the total. According to aT, demand for Shine Muscat grapes has been surging in the Chinese market recently, but supply is limited.
In China, few farms grow the highest quality Shine Muscat due to a lack of cultivation skills and experience. Shine Muscat grapes from Japan are of very good quality, but the high price is a burden. On the other hand, the price competitiveness of Korean products is seen as high since they are of high quality and are not as expensive as Japanese products.