Semmaris, the operator of the Paris Rungis wholesale fresh produce market, is poised to make its entry into the Chinese market.

President and CEO Marc Spielrein has confirmed that Semmaris has signed a draft agreement with the Shenzen Agricultural Company for the setting up of joint ventures for the management of three wholesale markets in China.

The Shenzen Agricultural Company, which is quoted on the Shenzhen stock exchange, already operates around 15 wholesale markets in China.  

The three wholesale markets covered by the draft agreement are located in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, Shenyang (north-east China) and Nanning (south of the country).

Shenzhen's new wholesale market, which is being built on a 33-hectare site to the north-east of the city, is scheduled to open its doors in 2009.

Semmaris, which had a 2006 turnover of EUR77.2m, is expected to hold a 25% stake in the capital of  the joint-ventures with the the possibility of swiftly obtaining a blocking minority, Spielrein added.