08:04 | 04/03/2015 Trade
While Vietnam seafood exports set records in 2014, the real story has been the spectacular rise in exports to China, which traditionally has not been a major market for seafood.
Fresh import data from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) shows that China has gone from an insignificant market in terms of value to the third largest seafood market in 2014.
Last year seafood exports rose 9% on-year to US$624 million and in terms of value accounted for 7.9% of total Vietnam seafood exports, trailing the US and EU markets in first and second ranking respectively.
Leading market analysts have said that demand in China, especially for high-quality products, has been increasing as a result of strong economic growth and an expanding middle class.
Although its domestic production has increased, it has not kept pace with the increase in demand for certain products – therefore the need for increased exports in general and seafood in particular.
Specifically, shrimp exports have been gaining in greater volume and China was the fourth largest importer of Vietnam shrimp, following by the US, Japan and the EU, accounting for 10% of the total value of exports.
The lion’s share of shrimp has been the white leg species, which has been steadily increasing, while imports of prawns over the past two years have been trending downwards. Overall shrimp and prawn exports skyrocketed 62.6% in 2014.
Market analysts have also reported that another reason for China’s growing demand is its consumers’ comfort with buying fresh and frozen seafood online and they have been advising Vietnamese to get up to speed on ecommerce to increase their revenue.
China’s ecommerce platforms such as yiguo.com, tmall.com, and yihaodian.com will allow Vietnamese seafood suppliers to market their high-end seafood products, both live and frozen, directly to consumers across China.
E commerce has been particularly growing in second and third-tier cities that don’t have access to modern supermarket retailers.
Truong Dinh Hoe, VASEP General Secretary said the biggest obstacle Vietnam seafood exporters need to overcome if they are to expand into China relates to payment methods and terms.
China is one of the top priority markets identified in the industry export plan and there is a real opportunity for Vietnamese companies to take advantage of the growing consumer demand for high-quality products, Hoe said.
If the payment method and term issue can be resolved and ecommerce boosted Hoe believes Vietnam seafood exports to the highly lucrative market will continue to surge in the future.
Source VOV News