China – Open for Business

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, and a rapidly expanding and urbanising middle class, China is one of the most attractive premium consumer markets in the world and one with a growing interest and taste for new apple varieties.

It’s little wonder then that every fresh produce brand in the world is striving to be there and a significant milestone that Pink Lady® have now formally authorised Pink Lady® exporters in Chile and New Zealand, and appointed our first commercial partner in China.

For the past twelve months APAL has been working towards this goal, paving the way for Pink Lady® into the Chinese market through the appointment of an international marketing agency (McCann Shanghai) and subsequent development of the strategy in conjunction with McCann Bristol, establishing a robust IP protection program, building relationships with retailers, and now the formal signing of our first License in China with our partner Joy Wing Mau.

To hit the ground running, APAL also commissioned market research in China (conducted by CrowdDNA) to better understand the mindset of the Chinese consumer and inform Pink Lady® marketing campaigns in China. Although still early days, the research confirms that fruit is a remarkably popular category in China and one that plays well to the prized exotic and novel status that is sought by middle-class consumers.

Empowered by rising disposable incomes, Chinese consumers are very savvy and expect more in terms of product quality, authenticity and safety – all brand promises Pink Lady® can live up to.

The first shipments of Pink Lady® from Chile and New Zealand have already arrived in-country. Most of these have been through a seasonal authorisation program (for this season only) put in place as a short-term solution to high demand which was the result of a large-scale domestic production failure. APAL have been flexible to ensure exporters could take advantage of this unique opportunity. However, longer-term, as confirmed by the appointment of Joy Wing Mau, we intend to manage China through approved Licensed partners who are working under a national marketing campaign with product supported by promotional funding from APAL. It is important that we manage carefully the development of what could and should become as significant a premium market as Europe and the UK. Having select commercial partners who have an appreciation for Brands as well as the capability to import globally, is key. Joy Wing Mau certainly demonstrate both these capabilities.

It is our intention to have the final China Marketing and Promotional plan completed in time for meetings at and following Asia Fruit Logistica in September.

We look forward to sharing an update on volumes and promotional plans in the next edition of Pink Lady Global News.

Andrew Hooke

About the Author:

Chief Operating Officer, Apple and Pear Australia Limited