China Fisheries & Seafood Expo Sets Records

November 16, 2011 08:23

Qingdao, China, Nov 3, 2011: China's increasingly insatiable appetite for seafood was never more apparent than at this year's record-setting China Fisheries & Seafood Expo, which concluded November 3rd in Qingdao.

More than 800 companies filled all four halls of the Qingdao International Convention Center. A record 15,300 visitors attended, nearly a 50% increase from last year's show in Dalian. Companies from almost 80 countries participated.

A Red-hot Market

"To say the Chinese market is red hot is an accurate statement," said Peter Redmayne, president of Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., the show's co-organizer. "We've been at this for 16 years and while Chinese seafood consumption has always been growing we've never seen anything like this."

In his speech at the Opening Ceremony, Redmayne noted that, "China is the engine that is driving the global seafood industry. Seafood consumption is declining in traditional major markets like Japan, the U.S. and the EU. Fortunately for seafood producers, that's not the case in China, the world's largest seafood market.

"The 2011 edition of China Fisheries and Seafood Expo was a "raging success" said long-time exhibitor Jock Bray, of Canada's Aqualine Seafoods."

This is not a show where people just come to meet their existing customers and to be seen," said Jennie Fu, marketing manager for Sea Fare Expositions. "This is a show where people buy and sell seafood, lots of seafood."

Exhibitors like Spain's Iberconsa came to the show looking to promote their Argentinean shrimp and quickly wrote orders for 70 metric tons.

Big Chinese seafood exporting companies, who in past years exhibited mainly in search of overseas buyers, are now focused increasingly on markets in China. One of the country's biggest shrimp exporters, Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co. Ltd., rolled out a line of value-added shrimp products and a new television commercial to promote it. Demand in China is so strong, the company says it is now importing 200 containers of shrimp to meet demand in China.

That has attracted shrimp producing companies from around the world to the show. At the Ecuador pavilion business was brisk, even though Ecuador grows Penaeus vannamei, the same species grown in China, and Ecuador imports into China are subject to a tariff and value-added tax.

China has also shown it wants more and more high-end seafood products. UNIMA, a producer of farmed black tiger shrimp from Madagascar and a first time exhibitor at the show, was in search of customers willing to pay a premium for its shrimp. According to company representative Ram Avarasala, Chinese interest is strong and some buyers appear ready to pay significantly more for the highest quality seafood.

Lobster is still another example. This year's show featured more than two dozen companies selling American lobster. So far this year, Chinese imports of American lobster have soared from less than 100 metric tons last year to almost 1,000 metric tons this year.

"The China market is the place to be," says Beijing-based lobster importer "Lucky" Lu of AIS AquaFoods. "This business here is so good everybody wants a part of it," he says. Lu, who used to be a major bay scallop and shrimp exporter, says all the focus these days is on the China market. "I'm always looking for new suppliers and products, so tell people to call me."

This year's China Fisheries & Seafood Expo grew from 1,700 booths last year to just over 2,000 booths this year, an increase of about 20 percent, says Yang Hong, general manager of Sea Fare (China) Ltd. in Beijing. Several new countries like Morocco and Indonesia have expressed interest in exhibiting pavilions next year, but finding space is increasingly a challenge for the fast-growing show, which is now the second largest seafood show in the world after the Brussels seafood show.

"We will only have the same space available as this year," says Hong, "even though we have added a hall in Dalian. I don't know where we can put all the new companies who want to exhibit. In China, we like to build things fast, but I don't know if we can expand these convention centers fast enough for this show."

About Sea Fare Expositions, Inc.

Sea Fare Expositions, Inc. is a professional trade show management company that has been producing trade shows for the seafood industry since 1984. Sea Fare organized the first China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in 1996.

In 2005, Sea Fare Expositions established a wholly owned Chinese subsidiary, Sea Fare (China) Ltd. in Beijing. Sea Fare China provides sales and operational support services for China Fisheries & Seafood Expo for both Overseas and Chinese exhibitors and visitors. Sea Fare and Sea Fare (China) also provides marketing services for companies interested in developing markets in China.

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