The price of live king crab more than 3.5 kg each has dropped to 90 yuan/jin (1 jin=0.5 kg; $13.02/jin USD) in Beijing on Oct. 5, while that of the smaller ones has declined to about 100 yuan ($14.47 USD) to 105 yuan ($15.19). Though prices are slightly higher in Guangzhou and Shanghai, they still set a new low record, around 100 yuan ($14.47 USD) to 110 yuan ($15.91 USD) per jin.
During this National Day, king crab have become a hit and there has been an obvious increase in their sales. Retailers in China’s second-tier and third-tier cities have purchased king crab in large quantities since the Mid-Autumn Festival due to their low prices. Consumers are willing to buy these reasonably priced crab that look good.
Apart from family gatherings and feasts, many Chinese also get married during this holiday, which further promotes the sales. Supermarkets and restaurants have also tried using discounts to lure more consumers to buy king crab. Meanwhile, they have become a magnet in new retailers such as Hema.
King crab are profitable for wholesalers at different levels, said one buyer from Shandong. He has bought them in Beijing at about 90 yuan ($13.02) to 100 yuan ($14.47 USD) per jin and then sold them at around 135 yuan/jin ($19.35 USD), which is profitable and also acceptable to local buyers. Some of his buyers are restaurants where customers order king crab sold at acceptable prices to impress guests.
As a matter of fact, king crab prices have been at low levels since early September mainly due to the start of Russia’s fishing season and its steady supply to China. Though the prices rose to about 120 yuan ($17.37 USD) to 130 yuan ($18.81 USD) per jin around the two festivals, they contracted to only around 100 yuan/jin ($14.47 USD) later.
Most Russian king crab have flooded into Huichun city of Jilin province before being distributed to other markets in China. With improvement of the logistics system between the city and Russia, the transportation is shorter with lower risks and more king crab arrive in China alive. This boosts Russia’s king crab sales to Jilin province.
As statistics from Huichun government show, its crab trading value with Russia has ballooned by 321 percent during the first eight months to reach 573 million yuan compared with the same period last year. This city has witnessed great increase in seafood imported from Russia thanks to its geographical advantage and existent railways and highways to Russia.
It is common in Huichun to see a great number of trucks drive live seafood from Russia in the morning after which these products are flown to different regions of China within several hours. Now there are 24 trading companies of Russian seafood in that city, and nine are specialized in importing live king crab from Russia.
These king crab used to have to go to South Korea before entering China, according to Wang, the general manager for one of these companies. But the new route from Russia to Huichun has made the trading more convenient. Wang’s company has imported more than 2,600 tons of live king crab through the new route in 2017 and the daily import can reach more than 50 tons at most. Now Wang has developed new markets both at home and abroad like Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as Thailand.