China – The next frontier!

China – The next frontier!

SDC Market Watch – August 30, 2018

What’s going on here?

The latest FAO report "The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018" highlights the critical importance of fisheries and aquaculture for the food, nutrition and employment of millions of people. It also presents a comparison of how individual countries, regions and even species compare when it comes to both wild capture fisheries and aquaculture. Following up on our theme on trade in recent days we are taking a quick look at the China related changes and challenges. The latest FAO figures show the state in 2016 and China continues to keep its place at the top of marine capture production countries rank with annual production in excess of 15,2 million MT, followed by distant Indonesia (6,1 million MT) and the United States (4,9 million MT). On the aquaculture fish production side China also remains at the top with annual production of 49,2 million  MT or 61,5% share of the total world production. In other words China is the leader whether in marine capture or aquaculture production.

What does this mean?

Does this then mean that China is also the clear leader when it comes to the trade? In terms of the top exporters China is at the top with about 14,1% share of the export trade value and in the third place with 6,5% share of the total import trade value - more than doubling its share in the ten year period from 2006 to 2016 on both accounts. This means that despite being the top producer with growing domestic aquaculture production China is nevertheless a growing market for fish imports as the intra regional trade only accounts for about 50% of the import and export value. 

Why should I care?

For you, personally:

For those interested in doing business with China, by trading either wild catch or aquaculture products into this market, there is an opportunity for seeking out a market niche. On the other hand there is the potential that Chinese producers will become strong competitors in the market outside of China. Any player in this field will have to be aware of this.

The bigger picture:

But this is not going to happen overnight. There are regulatory and quality issues that have to be addressed both in the Chinese production and in terms of the market access. One recent demonstration of this is the standard set by Chinese regulators that allows for rainbow trout to be sold as salmon. Educating the market about species differences will be a challenge despite having the exact specie being listed on the label (most likely in small print). Beyond trading and harvesting there is the potential for aquaculture technology developed outside of China to make its way into the sector. However, as with any technology transfers there is a fine line between selling products and developing new competitors. This has proven to be a challence for many technology firms entering the Chinese market.

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