The Pearl River Delta region has historically been China’s trade hub for both imported and domestic dried fruit and tree nuts.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: CH11828
China - Peoples Republic of
2012 South China Raisin Report 2012
Market Development Reports
Summary: The Pearl River Delta region has historically been China’s trade hub for both imported and
domestic dried fruit and tree nuts. The region boasts a mature distribution channel across the country on
its numerous delta tributaries which has allows traders, processors and packers to easily access dried
fruit and tree nuts both domestically and from abroad. U.S. dried fruit has been a dominant player in the
last three decades; however, increased competition from South American producers have raised price
sensitivity issues that not only impact growth, but threaten market share. U.S. producer associations
have been strongly advised by ATO Guangzhou to take action and manage this key market with greater
trade servicing activities. In 2011, South China imported $478,651- worth in U.S. raisins, a dramatic 200
percent drop compared with 2010.
This report provides a market overview and analysis of South China’s wholesale, retail and internet
purchases, as well as recommendations on each sector.
South China Market overview
-Wholesale market: Yidelu St. wholesale market
As the largest dried fruit and tree nut supplier market in the
world, Yidelu Street of old Guangzhou has over 2,000
shops across a 2-mile stretch. These wholesalers built the raisin
market in China the on backs of their trading activities. Post
recently interviewed some of the most influential shop
owners and discovered that over 80 percent of raisins
currently sold in Yidelu Street are domestically produced Guangzhou Yi De Lu whole sale market
raisins from Xinjiang Province (Northeast China), and the
remaining 20 percent are represented by three suppliers:
South Africa, U.S. and Chile.
Price is the main factor for the recent switch from U.S. raisins to those produced in Xinjiang. According
to the trade, Xinjiang producers have been busy building up the market starting with raisins’ branding
and image. They built up and strengthen marketing efforts and raised output levels to 500,000 ton per
year. As a result of significant improvements to cleaning, drying techniques, and food safety controls,
Xinjiang has raised the impression with traders, and the market has quickly taken notice. In contrast, the
California Raisin Committee has not organized any trader meetings or technical seminars protecting its
market share or supporting loyal buyers.
Turban (the main raisin producing region in Xinjiang) green seedless raisins are the top traded variety in
Yidelu Street. These raisins can now be prominently found in the retail sector and in the food service
industry, mainly for bakery and confectionary products. In second-third tier cities across China, these
can be found in wholesale markets or peddled by street vendors.
Retail consumers mainly purchase domestic raisins, while a small portion of imported raisins are
primarily purchased in snack package formats in first tier cities. In premier retail stores in first-tier cities,
imported raisins are packed in plastic bags, cans, or paper boxes, and are marketed as healthy, tasty and
convenient snack foods consumed by the middle-class. China’s hospitality industry has also helped
overall raisin consumption as more hotels feature raisins in their food service, bakery products, and
Besides the largest retail channels such as supermarkets/hypermarkets in big cities, independent food
stores like gas station stores and convenient stores are new
channels for U.S. raisins. Pricing varies between these sales
channels due to the distribution costs and entry fees.
Xinjiang green raisins sell in Huadu (second tier city and
suburb of Guangzhou) Louts supermarket at $11.1 per kg, while
the high-end Guangzhou Friendship (located at the heart of the
new Guangzhou city center) store sells the same raisins for $12.1
per kg. Imported raisins are much more expensive than their
domestic counterparts. For example, in Guangzhou Ole
Supermarket (highest end supermarket format in China), U.S.
raisins are priced $15.87per kg and in Shenzhen priced at
$17.46 per kg.
Based on discussions with managers of five major national retail
chains located in Shenzhen, ATO Guangzhou expects retail
Guangzhou Ole supermarket
sales volumes to grow by 20 percent in 2013. Source: ATO GZ
Since 2007, China’s on-line consumption entered a surge
purchasing era with over 50 percent increases by
netizens over the past five years. Among 33,440 million on-
line buyers spent over $317 on average in 2011. This
emerging purchasing channel will soon reach consumers
composed of a younger generation and office employers
(white collar) who enjoy the convenience, greater
options, and better pricing that come with on-line
purchasing. Group purchasing, a particular on-line
purchase promotion scheme allows consumers to
directly Guangzhou Friendship store online contact the factory or distributor which attracts and
encourages netizens to purchase larger package formats
with whole sale prices. Given strong demand and intense competition with on-line stores, many retail
stores have launched on-line shopping websites with free delivery and personal advisory services. The
China Academy of Social Sciences estimates China’s internet trading will reach $21 million in 2013.
Demand for high quality food products increased rapidly as well as the options available to consumers.
U.S. raisins enjoy a high reputation and long trading history in China, but the sudden decline also
delivers a message of insufficient attention and lax promotion by the California Raisin Council (RAC).
Post suggests RAC to work swiftly and closely with the ATO Guangzhou and Pearl River Delta traders
to launch more promotional events to strengthen the bond with distributors and end users with the
purpose of reinforcing the image of U.S. raisins and recognizing important trade relationships in South
China that are the backbone of China’s booming raisin market.