Bord Bia has tapped into China’s growing network of online sales and marketing to promote Irish seafood at both trade and consumer levels.
Leading with strong WeChat account and TMall promotions, it aims to maximise export opportunities by highlighting the benefits of Irish seafood directly to Chinese consumers. Promotional efforts will focus on increasing awareness of new species from Ireland such as velvet crab, blue lobster, and Irish prawns.
Bord Bia will also co-ordinate a series of cookery demonstrations in Beijing and Shanghai, focusing on introducing recipes for these species that are new to the Chinese market.
The campaign will assist Irish processors to sell their seafood products to distributors servicing premium restaurants and hotels.
In addition, Chinese consumers will be educated and informed through in-store tastings with a number of supermarket retail chains.
Meanwhile, a record 14 Irish seafood companies exhibited last week on the Bord Bia stand at the three-day China Fisheries Expo in Qingdao, the largest seafood trade event in Asia, with over 28,000 visitors from 100 countries.
In 2013, China’s seafood trade surpassed €20bn in value, cementing its position as the world’s leading seafood trading country. Growing incomes and increased urbanisation have helped fuel a massive growth in demand for imported seafood.
Traditionally, the Chinese market has been important for the Irish seafood industry predominantly for the sale of pelagic species. However, in the last few years, significant effort has been invested by Irish processors and Bord Bia to identify and develop opportunities for premium shellfish.
Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy said the strong and sustained growth in exports in recent years demonstrates the continued success of Ireland’s leading shellfish processors in penetrating this valuable market.
Shellfish exports to China increased in value by over 32% between 2015 and 2016, while exports to Hong Kong rose by 13% in the same period. During the last three years, Bord Bia has welcomed more than 35 Asian customers to Ireland. It will host a further 20 Chinese seafood buyers next April.