May 03, 2024 #ChileSustentable

Chilean cherries: Chile's ambassadors in China

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  • Ninety-one percent of local production was shipped to China, which could become a platform for marketing in Asia.
  • In the 2023 - 2024 season, Chile consolidated its leadership with 52% of exports worldwide.

"Cherries in themselves are just a fruit, but Chilean cherries are a miracle". This is how the Chinese ambassador, Niu Qingbao, referred to this national fruit that consolidated its world leadership this year with 97% of exports from the Southern Hemisphere, and 52% worldwide. The Chinese authority made these statements during the inauguration of the Global Cherry Summit, which brought together nearly 1,400 national and foreign representatives to discuss, analyze and project the future of the Chilean cherry. 

The Global Cherry Summit brought together more than 1,000 stakeholders around Chilean cherries

According to the Chinese ambassador, these fruits, which symbolize good fortune and are given as gifts for the Chinese New Year , "are a special gift from Chileans to the Chinese, even if we have to pay for them". Nearly 91% of local cherry production was destined for China, that is, 376,385 tons. It should be noted that, worldwide, total exports totaled more than 414 thousand tons, around 82.8 million 5-kilo boxes. 

Iván Marambio, president of Frutas de Chile, highlighted the "bond between the Chinese people and our cherry, which is unique, profound and represents Chile in a spectacular way. We are very happy that a Chilean fruit is the face of Chile in China".

Expression of Chilean culture

"An opportunity to express Chilean culture". This is how Tonnies Feng, general director of IPSOS-China, summarized the impact that this fruit is having on the Chinese market. He added that "China is a good distribution platform for cherries to other Asian countries, both in Southeast Asia, such as the Philippines and Singapore, and in the East, such as Japan and Korea". He added that it is necessary to maintain the high quality of the product" and use "factors such as natural, organic or pesticide-free, so that the consumer understands that this is a green product" and that, through this, "Chinese consumers know more about Chile".

Kurt Huang, marketing director of Jiaxing Haiguangxing and a distribution expert, pointed out that "Chile has improved the quality and arrival conditions of cherries in a short period of time," ensuring that imported fresh fruit is distributed quickly to Chinese regions from wholesale markets. In his opinion, "without Chile, the Chinese would continue to pay much more for imported cherries. Chile produces a large volume, and has lowered the price for consumers".

Importers are aware that Chilean cherries promote a good image of Chile in China: "Everybody knows Chilean cherries. Every Chinese person, when Chinese New Year comes, wants to eat Chilean cherries. Essentially, it is a necessity, something you want to share with your family and friends," said Konna Mu, general manager of importer Joy Wing Mau.

The challenges for the cherry industry next season are to increase exports to 115 million boxes, win back younger Chinese buyers and seek new markets in inland cities. According to Claudia Soler, executive director of the Chilean Fruit Cherry Committee, "as long as we continue to invest and position our products well, this will help the entry of others, and also Chile's image in the market".

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May 03, 2024 #SustainableChile #Columns

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