New Zealand kiwifruit group Zespri is expanding its presence in China with the launch of its own e-commerce store in collaboration with Chinese online retailer said the move will be supported by Chinese produce importer FruitDay – “in which became a strategic investor” in 2015. 

Chinese consumers’ appetites for imported fruits are “growing”, said. “In 2016, kiwis accounted for approximately 15% of all fruit sold by, a huge proportion given the booming online sales of more traditionally popular fruits in China like bananas, apples, pineapples, and local favourites like pomelos and loquats.”

Meanwhile, China “is one of the fastest growing markets for Zespri globally, with exports to the market increasing 30% last year”, said.

Zespri president of global sales and marketing Dan Mathieson confirmed last month the first of 46 refrigerated charter ships of kiwifruit from New Zealand would leave for China this year “in a break from tradition as the first ship for many years has been to Japan”.

“This marks the increasing importance of the China market for the industry, with China and Japan now our two largest markets in the world,” Mathieson said.

Last year, Zespri said it would work with New Zealand-based produce group T&G to try to grow their businesses in south-east Asia.

Zespri said last month it had opened an office in Dubai to manage its sales and marketing in the region and other developing markets. Chief executive Lain Jager said the new office would support Zespri’s growth across the Middle East, India and Africa.