Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Chinese firm signs Tainan milkfish deal

HEARTS AND MINDS:With supply unable to keep pace with huge Chinese demand, last year saw 3,000 people greeting a Chinese trade delegation in a stronghold of the DPP

Staff Writer, with CNA

A leading business group from northern China signed a deal with a food company in Greater Tainan yesterday to buy its milkfish and related products.

The Wuhan Zhongbai Group, based in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei Province, signed a letter of intent with Tainan-based Shinejai Food to buy 200 tonnes of milkfish and milkfish products within two years.

Zhongbai Group general manager Zhang Jinsong (張錦松) said that although China is facing high inflation, there are still Chinese consumers who want to buy more expensive Taiwanese products because they believe goods made in Taiwan are “quality guaranteed.”

Zhang would not provide a -specific estimate of the sales potential of Taiwanese goods, but he said it was certainly “very big.”

The group targeted Tainan milkfish on this trip because of successful sales trials in the company’s supermarkets and malls, Zhang said.

In addition to the milkfish purchase, the group also joined with Uni-President Group to open a representative office in Taiwan -yesterday to facilitate its purchase of local products.

“I’m not familiar with Taiwanese products and need to learn more about them through a local enterprise,” Zhang said.

According to information provided by the Zhongbai Group, the group had sales of NT$90 billion (US$3.04 billion) last year at its 700 retail outlets, mainly supermarkets, malls, department stores and specialized electronics shops.

Wang Wen-tsung (王文宗), chairman of Shinejai Food, said -yesterday that his company has received orders for 830 tonnes of milkfish and related products from Shenzhen, Liaoning Province and Wuhan since last year.

“The orders have made Tainan milkfish more valuable,” he said, estimating that the price for the fish has risen by at least NT$16 per kilogram.

“With the vast market in China, the supply of milkfish has been unable to meet demand,” Wang said.

Though Tainan is considered a stronghold of the Democratic -Progressive Party (DPP), Wang said Tainan’s fishermen were happy that China loves its milkfish products.

For the fishermen, their livelihoods were the top priority and “politics is not for us to play,” Wang said. However, he believed the atmosphere in Tainan had changed since the Chinese purchases began.

He recalled that more than 3,000 people in Hsuehchia Township, where his company is located, came out to welcome a trade delegation from Guangdong Province last year, which he described as a “miracle.”

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