Source: Xinhua
Editor: huaxia
2023-11-07 17:20:45
by Zhang Yuliang
OSLO, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) — The Norwegian seafood industry has greatly expanded its presence in the Chinese market via the China International Import Expo (CIIE), said a business leader of the industry.
“The CIIE is an excellent platform for those looking to explore the Chinese market. We were quite pleased with our achievements from last year’s exhibition. And this year we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in the number of Norwegian seafood companies participating in the expo,” said Andreas Thorud, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) director for the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong, in a recent interview here with Xinhua.
Thorud highlighted the CIIE’s growing pivotal role in Norwegian seafood enterprises’ business expansion in China and across Asia.
Norway ranks second behind China in seafood exports globally, boasting an export value of 150 billion Norwegian kroner (about 13.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2022. The seafood industry stands as Norway’s second-largest industrial sector, second to the oil and gas industry, employing over 100,000 individuals, 2 percent of the nation’s population.
The NSC, operating under Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries, is dedicated to enhancing the reputation and value of Norwegian seafood. Last November, the NSC debuted at the fifth CIIE in Shanghai, heading a delegation of eight Norwegian seafood companies.
“Our inaugural participation in the CIIE yielded significant positive results,” said Thorud. Throughout the expo, Norwegian seafood companies engaged in extensive dialogues with Chinese stakeholders, government officials, and consumers, showcasing the distinct qualities and advantages of Norwegian seafood.
“We noted a strong interest among many Chinese businesses and consumers in Norwegian seafood products such as salmon, Arctic cod, cold-water prawns, red king crab and etc,” he said.
“Thanks to the CIIE platform, we’ve facilitated deeper connections between Norwegian seafood enterprises and Chinese partners, allowing more Chinese consumers to become familiar with our products,” said Thorud.
One anecdote Thorud shared was of a Norwegian seafood exporter who traveled with two employees to China for the fifth CIIE last year. One of the employees had not been to China before. Given the pandemic protocols, they underwent a two-week quarantine in a hotel in Shanghai before attending the event. This dedication bore fruit, as the company forged robust collaborations with Chinese enterprises, solidifying its foundation in the Chinese market.
China remains the most substantial market for Norwegian seafood in Asia, with products such as salmon continually expanding its market share. According to data released by the NSC, in the first three quarters of 2023, China imported 31,400 metric tons of salmon from Norway, valued at 4.19 billion Norwegian kroner (about 381.3 million dollars) — a surge of 63 percent and 89 percent respectively year on year.
Besides salmon, Norway exported significant quantities of Arctic cod, mackerel, and shellfish, among other seafood products, to China. Total exports amounted to 109,000 metric tons, valued at 6.44 billion Norwegian kroner (about 586.0 million dollars) in the first three quarters of 2023.
The NSC is taking 12 companies to the sixth CIIE, which runs in Shanghai from Sunday to Friday. Thorud indicated a burgeoning interest from various Norwegian seafood companies in attending the expo, be it the nation’s most prominent salmon farms, or medium and smaller family-run enterprises focused on mackerel and cold water prawn fishing.
“Both SMEs that are newly exploring the Chinese market and large corporations that have cultivated ties in China for years expressed immense anticipation for the CIIE. We’re confident that participation will unlock more opportunities for the Norwegian seafood industry,” he said.
Aligned with the Chinese government’s “Healthy China 2030” initiative, which aims to achieve health indicators comparable to high-income nations by 2030, Thorud expressed the Norwegian seafood industry’s aspirations to contribute. The industry intends to introduce more nutritious and health-beneficial Norwegian seafood options to Chinese consumers.
“The seafood trade between Norway and China has a long history, with Shanghai always playing a central role,” said Thorud, who has lived in Shanghai for 18 years, and speaks fluent Mandarin and has a Chinese name “Tong Anrui.” He recalled that as early as in 1860s, tons of stockfish from Norway were shipped to Shanghai, becoming a favorite dish among Chinese consumers.
Over a century later, China remains the most significant market for Norwegian seafood in Asia, with the consumption scale still on the rise. Thorud said that the NSC continues to view the CIIE as a strategic platform for venturing into the Chinese and broader Asian markets and encourages more Norwegian seafood companies to participate and introduce top-tier products to Chinese consumers.