Liu Wenpo, the CEO of Beijing-based Runfuyuan Trading Company, said that volumes of cherries were down a little bit on last year, in part due to weather issues in the South American country, but he said that fruit quality has been unaffected.
He explained the import price has increased by around 10%, which has resulted in the customers being less inclined to buy and therefore affecting sales volume.
“Although Chinese consumers have a strong preference for Chilean cherries, their shopping desires have shown a decline due to the increased price”, Liu said, expressing a less optimistic attitude towards the Chinese cherry market this year.
The company imports a wide range of varieties from Chile then distributes the fruit to different retailers across the country and through the biggest Beijing wholesale market Xinfadi.
According to Freshport, on Dec. 10, the import price for a 5-kilogram box of Santina cherries was RMB684.29 (US$99) while Bing cherries were around RMB670 (US$97).
Aside from Chilean cherries, the company also imports from Australia, which he said have been seeing a regular market performance so far this season.
Next year Argentina cherries will be reaching China market for the first time, after the two governments recently opened the trade tie. Liu said this could cause some issues for Chile.
“Chilean cherries are facing more challenges as there are more competitions flowing in,” Liu said.
Liu proposed strategies to improve cherry sales.
“I recommend Chilean exporters offer more varieties of packaging for Chinese customers. For example, in terms of 1kg, 2.5kg and so forth, with different pricing in smaller quantities," he said.