Tue, Jul 14, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Chinese visit to help local suppliers

GROWING TRADE CONNECTIONS A group of Chinese retailers currently visiting Taiwan are interested in sourcing organic agricultural products, food and beverages

By Crystal Hsu And Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTERS, WITH CNA

A visit by Chinese retailers is intended to help Taiwanese suppliers tap into China’s domestic market rather than place orders, but may still generate billions of NT dollars in business, trade officials from the two sides said yesterday.

Nearly 150 Chinese buyers from 73 enterprises met with Taiwanese fruit, beverage, snack and other food suppliers for one-on-one talks that introduced Taiwanese products to the Chinese.

Wang Chih-kang (王志剛), chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), the organizer of the two-day event, highlighted the possibility of cooperation between retailers on the two sides of the Strait rather than on the value of possible procurements.

“The potential for contracts for a regular supply of Taiwanese products to Chinese customers is more significant than one-time orders,” Wang told the opening ceremony in Taipei.

Wang’s agency will organize a similar presentation in Tainan tomorrow. A total of 340 Taiwanese suppliers have signed up for the presentations.

Unlike the previous visit last month by Chinese buyers who placed orders for flat panels and other electronic products, Wang said this delegation consists of executives from department store chains, supermarkets and logistics providers.

They represent Beijing Hualian Group (北京華聯集團), Beijing Wangfujing Department Store (北京王府井百貨), Hefei Department Store Group Co (合肥百貨) and Wuhan Zhongbai Group Co (武漢中百集團), Wang said.

In addition to long-term cooperation, the Chinese buyers are expected to place orders for NT$6.6 billion (US$200 million) in locally made food products, Wang said.

Hefei group yesterday ordered 500,000 yuan (US$73,000) in soft drinks from HeySong Corp (黑松).

Cheng Jun (程軍), chairman and vice president of Wuhan Zhongbai Chain Warehouse Supermarket Co (武漢中百連鎖倉儲超市), said the four Taiwanese products that have seen the most growth in China are fruit, dry snacks, condiments and beverages.

As Chinese consumers have become more quality selective and health conscious, Cheng said he saw opportunities for Taiwanese producers of organic agricultural products as well as non-processed and unsweetened foods.

“We witnessed 30 percent growth in organic foods last year and expect this trend to continue,” he said. “One of the reasons for my visit is to speak with local organic agriculture companies.”

Despite the economic downturn, China-bound fruit and food soared 123.68 percent in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year, while cookies and grain products jumped 83.21 percent, TAITRA data showed.

Meanwhile, TAITRA plans to open a liaison office in Nanning, the biggest city in China’s Guangxi Province.

The office should open in one or two months now that Guangxi provincial authorities have given it the go-ahead, Wang said.

“A liaison official will be posted at the office to help serve Taiwanese business people seeking to tap the markets in neighboring ASEAN,” he said.

The Nanning office will be the fifth that TAITRA has opened in China this year, following the establishment of similar offices in Nanjing, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Dalian in the first half of the year.

Wang said TAITRA would do its best to help Taiwanese businesses break into the ASEAN market as Taiwan and China prepare to sign an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA).

Nanning’s strategic location makes it China’s gateway to the ASEAN market, he said.

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