November 7, 2013


Ireland's seafood exports to China, Hong Kong up 45% in H1 2013


Irish seafood exports to China reached €7.7 million (US$10.4 million) in value terms in 2012, representing an increase of 169% on the previous year sales, while exports to Hong Kong grew by 59% during the same period to reach €2.6 million (US$3.5 million).


In January-June of this year, the positive trend continued, as Ireland's seafood exports to China and Hong Kong increased by 45%, from €6.5 million (US$8.8 million) in 2012 to more than €9.5 million (US$13 million) in 2013.


Bord Bia is organising the largest ever presence at the China Seafood and Fisheries Expo in North East China's Dalian this week. Fourteen Irish seafood companies are attending the trade show which takes place from November 5 until November 7. The China Seafood Expo is set to attract over 15,000 visitors from 80 nations and provides an opportunity for Ireland's seafood exporters to identify new customers, meet existing clients and launch new products.


James O'Donnell, Bord Bia's Market Manager based in Shanghai, commented: "Irish seafood enjoys an excellent reputation internationally and with exports to China and Hong Kong up by 45% so far this year to reach €9.5 million (US$12.8 million), it is paramount that we continue to establish awareness and a presence in this profitable market."


When the inaugural China Seafood Expo was held in 1996, China's total international seafood trade was worth under €3 billion (US$4.1 billion). In 2012, China's international seafood trade has grown by 8% on-year to reach almost €20 billion (US$27 billion), cementing China's position as the world's leading seafood trading country. Growing incomes and increased urbanisation in the world's second largest economy have helped fuel a massive growth in demand for imported seafood.


The United Nation's FAO projects that China will need an extra 16 million tonnes of seafood by 2020 to meet this growing demand from a swelling middle class, which is expected to reach 500 million by 2020.


Traditionally, the Chinese market has been important for the export of Irish pelagic fish, however in recent years, significant efforts have been invested to develop opportunities for premium shellfish in this growing market. Irish shellfish exports to China are continuing to surge as Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium for imported seafood, which they perceive to be safer and of higher quality. Shellfish exports to these markets increased by 168% to China and 164% to Hong Kong for January-June 2013. Shipments of live Irish crab and oysters by air into major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are increasing in frequency, with live product commanding a premium in upscale restaurants and luxury supermarkets.

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