SEAFOODNEWS.COM [FishFIrst] translated by Amy Zhong – September 24, 2018

More and more countries are selling white shrimp to China. According to a recent report, the country has received its first batch of white shrimp from Peru — about 18 tons in total. These shrimp are sold northern China after passing 27 quality tests and inspections. Peru used to export most of its shrimp to the U.S., but this has changed. And what are the factors that have lured so many Peruvian exporters to the Chinese market?

Although China is a main shrimp aquaculture country, it is also an important importer and its import has grown at a surprisingly rapid rate. For example, it bought in about 400,000 to 600,000 tons of shrimp from foreign suppliers in 2017. The main suppliers are countries like Ecuador, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Argentina. More countries are expected to become shrimp suppliers to China but there hasn’t been much change to China’s shrimp export.

These countries like the Chinese market mainly for the following reasons. First, the country is not as strict regarding imported shrimp products. Second, the country is known for its reliability among shrimp suppliers. Third, shrimp prices are slightly higher in China than others. Fourth, shrimp of most sizes can find buyers there. Fifth, China has a great demand for whole shrimp, whose processing cost is lower than others.

In addition, China’s expanding its imports now and also increasing its overseas investments. Its huge consumption market has attracted large quantities of foreign suppliers. Rapid development of its e-commerce platforms and new retailers have also contributed to the continual increase of China’s imports. At the same time, with the country’s crackdown on smuggling and lowering tariffs, its shrimp imports are expected to greatly increase, while its export is likely to drop. China is predicted to become the largest shrimp importer in the future.

Although China’s seafood consumption has increased to some extent, there is still a great potential to be exploited and exporters take into consideration such factors as exchange rates, China’s trading policies and consumption habits. Consumers’ seafood requirements have changed due to information becoming more transparent. The industry is upgrading and nowadays consumers prefer diversified and quality seafood.

Chinese aquaculture farmers have become increasingly cautious under the influence of shrimp markets and the aquaculture situation. Many are looking for other substitutes with lower farming risks. This is one of the main reasons why they have attached great importance to aquatic species like crayfish and basa.

However, white shrimp are still expected to play a leading role in China’s aquatic industry in the near future. Because they perform well in industrialized aquaculture, though they are losing their competitive edge due to market prices and coal boilers being forbidden in northern China now. Industry participants are eagerly looking for other replacements but it is still uncertain what will be the rising star.