China’s organic movement visited Nürnberg in February, when over 50 organic companies from China presented their products to international trade visitors at BioFach 2008, the World Organic Trade Fair in Nürnberg.
In the congress programme, international market experts reported on the status quo, development and prospects of organic farming and marketing in China. Axel Bartkus, Managing Director of NürnbergMesse China, and Jane Jiang, Exhibition Director of BioFach China, travelled extra from Shanghai.
They used the four hectic days at the exhibition in Nürnberg for talks with Chinese companies and with German companies that already have trading relations with China or would like to make initial contacts.
Bartkus and Jiang are optimistic and expect more exhibitors and visitors at the second edition of BioFach China, which takes place in the Shanghai Everbright Convention and Exhibition Center from 29-31 May 2008. The first trade fair in China exclusively for certified organic products was launched with a glittering premiere in May 2007.Chinese exhibitors delighted with world-leading exhibition in Nürnberg
Cui Min, Director of Rizhao Huasai Foodstuffs, exporter of corn, beans and oilseeds, was also extremely satisfied with this year’s exhibition: “We exhibit at BioFach in Nürnberg every year, and it is better every time! We very much appreciate the growing number of customers and the wealth of new market information.” Zhang Wei, Sales Manager of natural textiles company Tao Lifestyle of Peking, also looks back on a successful BioFach: “Our expectations were exceeded.”
China – organic raw materials market
China offers the international organic industry raw materials that are in great demand in Europe and North America. The prospects for successful market entry are excellent, although a number of long-term trading relationships already exist between the continents. “Mutual understanding is growing on both sides,” says Axel Bartkus, Managing Director of NürnbergMesse China. There are still international reservations about China as a sourcing market, but quality standards and quality assurance are becoming more uniform throughout the world. China is not only gaining importance as an export country, as processed goods are also imported into the People’s Republic, mainly from Australia, Europe and the USA.
Close and good cooperation is rewarded with success. Companies with many years of trading experience in China can confirm this. The Munich import company Naturkost Ernst Weber GmbH, for example, has cultivated trade connections with China for more than ten years – with currently eleven Chinese organic projects in progress. It is necessary to seriously invest in cooperation, training farmers, creating infrastructures and controlling processing and storage. There are also trade barriers to be overcome. But the effort is worth it, is the tenor. The People’s Republic of China with its many climatic zones and wide range of agricultural possibilities offers an extensive spectrum of products: soya, various kinds of beans, oilseeds, nuts and tea thrive in Chinese soil and have a long tradition.
Companies who accept the Chinese mentality out of respect for a different culture and strive for long-term cooperation undoubtedly find partners in China. Liz Augustat, China expert at Naturkost Ernst Weber regrets: “Scandals in the non-food sector have discredited China as a raw material supplier. This is a great pity, but is unfortunately sometimes considered in a too generalized way.” Organic products from long-term managed projects in China are just as trustworthy as products from other parts of the world. There are strict legal standards and the inspection system and certification are set up as in Europe. As both Chinese exporters and European importers have a good reputation to lose, it is in the interests of both sides to match the quality to the standards required by the customers. Many European certification organizations with decades of experience in China keep an eye on compliance with international standards and directives.China’s organic buyers: open-minded, brand-conscious and critical
The growing media attention also makes the young Shanghai woman confident. “This makes the population conscious of organic products and promotes awareness of the official organic label. People are then already sensitized when they see relevant products in the shops,” says Jiang. Organic products are gradually winning a good reputation as safe premium food. The group of consumers that intentionally buy organic is growing rapidly.
Hans Kottulinsky of Rocks & Wings also sees progress in domestic market development. Together with his wife, the Austrian has built up an import company for organic products from Europe over the last four years and also works as a consultant. He describes the new Chinese consumers as open-minded, brand-conscious and critical. They focus on training, personality development, family and health. The connection between food and health is traditionally deep-rooted in China. This creates a good basis for further development of the Chinese organic market.
For all those who want to get to know the Chinese market and important Chinese companies or intensify existing contacts, China expert Hans Kottulinsky recommends exhibiting at BioFach China. This will be ceremoniously opened by Axel Bartkus, Managing Director of NürnbergMesse China, together with Chinese government representatives on 29 May 2008. Following the promising premiere in 2007 with its extremely positive response from trade visitors – 7,290 interested visitors came from 26 countries – and high degree of satisfaction among the over 200 exhibitors, Bartkus expects more exhibitors and visitors in 2008. The internationality should also increase again. The three-day exhibition is accompanied by a conference programme with top speakers from the USA, Europe and China.
Other BioFach events:BioFach Japan, Tokyo 24-26 September 2008
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