Ecuador's current trade with China revolves around raw materials and semi-processed products. Over coming years, however, demand is also expected to increase for products like mango and pineapple juice, as well as passion fruit puree.
Speaking with www.freshfruitportal.com, Jorge Hidalgo, Ecuador's consul general in Shanghai, said that general demand for food products in China is on the rise thanks to a growing middle class, higher incomes and desire to try new products.
"Imported products have become an alternative for food security in China in recent years. The level of information that buyers have is greater and they can clearly identify which suppliers have the best quality product at the best price," he said.
Hidalgo highlighted the wide variety of product options available in China, especially in Shanghai.
"This city sets trends for the rest of the country. If a product is successful here, there is a high chance it will also be successful in the rest of the country. The Chinese consumer is open to learning about new products," he said.
"In Shanghai specifically, there are 300,000 foreign residents that spearhead consumer choices. Mangos, passion fruit and pineapples from Ecuador have a lot of potential."
He added that product placement is already well established for many brands in China, which creates a challenge for winning over consumer favor.
"There are few channels between South America and China, which makes it difficult on both sides to lower costs and increase volume," he said.
Despite cost barriers, he said China has become an import market for Ecuadorian goods.
"Over recent years, the number of exporters has increased at least 50%. We'll see the benefits in the future when Chinese demand is consolidated with greater positioning. For Ecuador, it will probably become the most important export market," he said.
ProEcuador has been working in China, studying better strategies to place Ecuadorian products through alternative channels and social networks. Hidalgo also leads ProEcuador?ˉs commercial office in Shanghai.