The Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex) has signed an agreement with e-commerce giant Alibaba to drive sales of Chilean fresh fruit in China via its online platforms during the 2015/16 campaign.
The agreement, which was signed on Tuesday (13 October) at a Global Shopping Festival held in Hangzhou, home to Alibaba’s headquarters, will kick off with promotions for Chilean cherries and blueberries.
The Chilean promotion will launch on China’s Singles’ Day Festival on 11 November. The event is a celebration for singletons, or ‘bare sticks’, symbolised by the four number ones in the date of 11 November - 11/11. Alibaba adopted Singles’ Day in 2009 to promote a massive annual online sales promotion and it has rapidly become a hit, with the e-commerce giant managing to pull in sales worth US$9.3bn in 2014.
The agreement signing ceremony was attended by Chilean Ambassador to China, Jorge Heine; Cesar Suarez, Chilean trade commissioner in Shanghai; Charif Christian Carvajal, the Asia and Europe marketing director at Asoex; and the founder of Alibaba Jack Ma.
“Compared with a traditional retail store, consumers can make a more informed purchase online, as it’s easy to convey the characteristics of the product,” said Heine. “For instance, we can explain that Chilean fruit is more price cheaper because it enters China duty-free.”
Asoex president Ronald Bown said the agreement would strengthen the promotion and consumption of Chilean fresh fruits in China. “We’re focusing primarily on cherries and blueberries, because these are the first fruits to come into season, and during this time of year, they enjoy great prestige and interest from Chinese consumers,” he explained. “We must not forget that 80 per cent of the cherries Chile ships to Asia are destined for China.”
The Chilean government and Alibaba established a framework agreement last August to facilitate the direct sale of Chilean products to China via online portals during a mission attended by the former Chilean President Eduardo Frei. The deal between Asoex and Alibaba is the first private sector initiative to be established on the back of the agreement.
“We have every confidence that our campaigns will be fully empowered through this online platform, especially in a country where the penetration rate of internet usage is 650m people,” said Suarez. “Alibaba alone has 367m users or subscribers.”
During a day of meetings with T-Mall representatives, Carvajal added that Asoex had agreed a diverse programme of promotional activities. “We’re also coordinating a visit for T-Mall representatives to Chile so that they can see the process of producing and exporting our fruits and we can develop new promotional video footage,” he said.