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Chinese e-commerce grows during COVID-19 epidemic

The roads to many Chinese cities are blocked and fewer people are going outside to shop since the outbreak of the corona virus. This development has had a significant impact on the business of fruit and vegetable shops. However, online sales are booming.

Mr. Liang Shisheng, vice-president and manager of operations at Jiangnan Fresh Produce, recently shared his opinion on current conditions in the fresh produce market in China.

The online sales of Jiangnan Fresh Produce nearly doubled in comparison with this period last year. "One of the trends we spotted is that communities often buy in bulk. Many collective purchasing platforms entered the market last year, but since the outbreak of the corona virus, people prefer not to leave their house to do shopping, and many small community businesses have seized this opportunity to enter the fresh produce market. They collect orders from the community and place a large order online. The online business then delivers the large order to the community, and the small business owners deliver the individual orders to each apartment," explained manager Liang.

"We currently provide this type of service to the small business owners in more than 10 communities in Guangdong, and they in turn deliver to several thousand apartment buildings. We are currently linking up with several other businesses. I believe that collective purchases from communities will become an important trend," said manager Liang.

"The reason I believe this trend is here to stay, is because people who previously did not understand how to order online have now been forced to engage with e-commerce as a way to avoid going out for shopping during the epidemic. This type of consumer behavior will quickly become a habit."

"Distribution obviously suffered from the restrictions on transport since the outbreak of COVID-19, but we have set up our own distribution service and we work hard to guarantee that our clients receive their orders on time. The distribution in east China is still quite complicated, but distribution in south China has almost completely recovered."

When asked about supply and demand conditions, manager Liang replied, "Online supply and demand is relatively stable, but city residents prefer to stay inside. However, fresh fruit and vegetables always enjoy a relatively strong consumer demand and we have not encountered situations where our fresh produce was difficult to sell. Some clients still prefer to purchase fresh produce in large volumes online to hoard at home. In addition to rapidly growing consumer demand for fresh vegetables, we also see rising sales figures for seasonal imported fruit. We receive large orders for such fruits as cherries, grapes, and plums. The price of these products is quite stable at the moment and we have not seen any serious fluctuations."

"Although online sales have rapidly gone up in the last few weeks, we are also aware that there are many agricultural wholesale traders in second-, third-, and fourth-tier cities who do not have easy access to fresh produce. This in turn leads to a sudden increase in prices. In order to help solve this situation, we began to offer large volume purchase services online on the 27th of February. Traders from second- and third-tier cities are able to purchase from first-grade wholesale markets and even production areas through our store. This will help them find the most reasonable price for large volumes of fresh produce because we eliminate the additional fees that the many intermediaries would add for their services," explained manager Liang.

"At the moment, we offer this service every day between 07:30~10:30. We begin online sales as soon as we receive the containers from the market. We currently deliver to more than 20 cities in south China, central China, and southwest China."

For more information: 

Liang Shisheng - Vice-president and manager of operations

Jiangnan Fresh Produce

Tel.: +86 135 9028 3910 

E-mail: shisheng.liang@freshjn.com


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