SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Fish First] Translated by Amy Zhong Feb 16, 2016

Fan Xubing is the founder and president of Sea Bridge Marketing in Beijing, and has worked for many years as a partner in promoting sales of imported seafood in China, especially on line.

He has worked in China’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Royal Norwegian Embassy where he was in charge of the promotion of Norwegian salmon.   After the embassy job, Fan worked for Marine Harvest as the manager for its business in China.  He founded Sea Bridge in 2003 to promote imported products, and lately he has been working especially with Canadian producers.

The following article reflects his thoughts in imported seafood into China in 2016.

The year of 2015 has witnessed the rapid development of e-commerce business of imported food. The sales of such products as imported seafood, fruit and meat have increased by more than 50% and netizens are getting accustomed to buying such commodities through the Internet. And such shopping channel has attracted an increasing number of both young and elderly consumers.
The past year has also seen the improvement of cold chain logistics. And e-commerce companies like Jingdong and Womai have increased the investment in their cold chain logistics, which results in the expansion of the logistics system. And it has become increasingly common for consumers to get the products on the day they order online or the following day.
Online sales have continued to grow rapidly for those imported seafood in 2015. Traditional products like Canadian lobsters, Antarctic toothfish, northern prawns and frozen salmon are still very popular, while the market also attaches more importance to such new products as Argentina red shrimps, Ecuador shrimps, king crabs from Chile, British golden king crabs and Alaskan black cod.
Place of origin has become an increasingly important criterion in consumers’ selection of diverse foreign seafood during 2015. Seafood from such areas like Canada and Alaska have developed more and more following among consumers.
In the past year, online companies like Jingdong and Dmall have developed rapidly in such first-tier cities as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. And imported fruit and seafood have become widely received in this new O2O market.
Among these seafood, northern prawns and Canadian lobsters are especially popular.
Fan’s company has worked with such e-commerce companies as Tmall, Jingdong and Womai in the promotion of its Canadian seafood. They also cooperated with Canadian embassy in China, various seafood associations in Canada and Canadian companies like OCI and Clearwater during a variety of Canadian seafood festivals hosted in China.
In 2015, Fan’s company working with the Canadian Embassy and the Canadian Shrimp Producers Assoc., the Canadian Lobster Council, the Geoduck Association of Canada, among others, carried out Canadian promotion in a number of seafood festivals.  The goal was to make “Canadian seafood” as the best-known regional brand of imported seafood.  Canadian snow crab, yellowtail flounder, Canadian Whelk, Canada Arctic shrimp and lobster have gradually won a certain reputation in the market.
  By 2015, close cooperation in major fishing Canada (OCI, Shimizu Corporation, etc.) company and the Canadian Embassy, ​​the Canadian Association of the major seafood (shrimp Canadian Arctic Producers Association, Canadian Council of lobster, geoduck Association of Canada) carried out a series of influential Canadian seafood marketing origin, such as: Jingdong Canadian seafood Festival, One shop Canada Pavilion, Tootoo Socialist workers Canadian seafood Festival, Jingdong home Canadian seafood Festival, more Canadian seafood Festival. “Canadian seafood” as the best-known regional brands imported seafood has been formed, Canadian snow crab, yellowtail flounder Canada, Canadian Whelk, Canada Arctic Bay, Canada flounder and other products, in the Canadian Arctic shrimp and lobster, led by Canada, also gradually won a certain reputation in the market.
In 2016 we will continue cultivating O2O market towards the end of 2016 to make the major Canadian seafood varieties, all O2O platform to become the best-selling imported seafood products, while covering the north of Guangzhou-Shenzhen and 10 major capital cities. “Canadian seafood two hours home” will be our 2016 target.
What’s more, the company has worked to promote the Canadian seafood through such new media as Wechat and Weibo.
Although China will encounter great economic difficulties in 2016, it is hoped that the imported food market will grow at the rate of 30% to 50%. The industry of imported seafood will also face more fierce competition this year than before with more seafood flooding into China’s market. And advertising the places of origin will become a marketing strategy of great importance. Fan’s company intends to import more seafood from Canada and promote these fresh seafood to consumers.
According to Fan, the year of 2016 is likely to see the more rapid development of the O2O commerce. So his company will devote more efforts to promote the Canadian seafood on this platform. And it will also cooperate with local chain stores, supermarkets, etc. so as to provide consumers with better products and services at lower prices.
In addition, takeout and home cooking services are expected to further develop on this platform, which is a great opportunity for the sales of imported seafood. Fan plans to advertise Canadian seafood through the company’s takeout service or the chef home cooking service.
What’s more, Fan’s company also tends to further their cooperation with new media in its marketing. Journalists and bloggers will be invited to places of origin and then share their experience with consumers through the Internet.