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China Show Preview: What do consumers want in their shrimp?

Now in its 23rd year, the show has grown in step with China's booming seafood economy.

Follow along as IntraFish, the Official Media Sponsor of the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo (CFSE), counts down the days to the Nov. 7-9 event. We'll offer you key updates in both English and Mandarin, then follow up with a live blog from the show floor. And make sure and visit us at booth E1-0918.

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A seat at the table

Don't forget to register for IntraFish's Seafood Leadership Luncheon on Nov. 8 at the Grand Mercure Qingdao Nanshan Resort, located adjacent to the Qingdao International Expo Center. We'll be talking about China's growing appetite for shrimp, and how consumer tastes are changing. Seating is limited for this FREE event so register early!

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From big to bigger

It's another sellout for the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo (CFSE), show organizers said on Thursday.

The event, now in its 23rd year, will fill all 10 exhibit halls at the Qingdao International Expo Center.

A record 1,600 companies from 50 countries will be exhibiting this year. This year's show covers 45,000 square meters in exhibit space and is expected to attract 25,000 visitors from 100 countries.

The number of Overseas Exhibitors at CFSE has increased about 12 percent over the 2017 show, said Jennie Fu, the show’s marketing manager.

“We added space in a new hall for Overseas Exhibitors this year,” she said. In addition to individual companies the show has 19 international pavilions, many of which booked additional space this year.

IntraFish Podcast #14: How China's seafood sector is changing

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“The basic market forces that have now made CFSE the largest seafood show haven’t really changed,” said Peter Redmayne, president of Seattle-based Sea Fare Expositions, Inc., the co-founder and overseas organizer of the show. “China’s population is increasingly affluent, they love seafood and the logistics of their distribution systems keep improving.”

What has changed in China, Redmayne said, is it’s getting much easier to import seafood. China has signed numerous Free Trade Agreements with seafood-producing countries, which has greatly reduced tariffs, in many cases to zero.

Local customs clearance has also become much more efficient, and shipments of live seafood, for example, can be cleared through Chinese customs, often in less than a few hours.

Finally, said Redmayne, there is much more air freight capacity as nonstop flights from Europe, North America and Asia now serve second and third-tier cities, in addition to the major international hubs of Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.

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Exploding retail sector driving seafood growth

Getting seafood to the kitchens of Chinese consumers is also getting much easier, said Yang Hong, general manager of Beijing-based Sea Fare (China) Ltd.

Supermarkets are proliferating at the same time as the once ubiquitous wet markets are disappearing. The Internet giant, Alibaba, for example, plans to open 2,000 of its high-tech Hema stores in the next five years. Shoppers at these stores, which showcase seafood, can purchase at the store, select their food at the store and have it delivered, or simply order online and have it delivered. If the consumer lives within 3 kilometers of a store, delivery time is 30 minutes or less.

“The Chinese government knows it will have to rely more and more on imported seafood to meet the country’s growing demand,” said Redmayne. “That’s because Beijing has adopted increasingly strong measures to conserve and better manage its own fisheries resources and reduce the negative environmental impacts of aquaculture. That’s great news for seafood producers around the world who are looking for new markets.”

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