Alibaba-owned Chinese retailer ramps up fresh produce procurement programme ahead of a planned IPO in the next 12 months

Freshippo store

Image: Alizila

New Zealand kiwifruit specialist Zespri, Chilean fruit exporter Garces Fruit, and US-based berry marketer Driscoll’s have each formed a strategic partnership with retail chain Freshippo, which operates more than 300 stores across 27 cities in mainland China.

The agreements are part of a wider set of new procurement partnerships with a total of 13 retailers, brand owners, associations and consultancies – names that include Australian supermarket chain Coles and Swiss retailer Migros.

So far this year, Alibaba-owned Freshippo has agreed strategic deals with 33 retailers around the world in countries that include in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cyprus, Russia and Italy.

It says it will also set up eight procurement centres worldwide, which it will use to source products locally.

The group will offer Garces, Zespri, Driscoll’s and others so-called Freshippo Solutions – in other words, assistance in bringing their products to the attention of Chinese customers.

Chief executive officer Hou Yi explained: “Leveraging our top-notch technology and our highly effective supply chain, Freshippo is committed to scouting the best sources and introducing the best products from around the world to Chinese consumers at the best possible prices, fulfilling their aspirations for a better life.”

Alibaba Group announced on 18 May 18 that Freshippo aims to complete an IPO in the next 6-12 months.

Part of its commercial plan appears to be an acceleration of its import business, and it is clear fresh fruit procurement plays a major part in that development.