Canadian Brands Look to JD.com for Chinese Consumer Boom
Richard Liu welcomes delegation led by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada to learn more about the growing opportunity
Fresh, live lobsters plucked from Canada’s cool, clean waters are prized throughout the world for their quality and taste. Now, thanks to a new era of cooperation between Canada’s government and industry and JD.com, live lobsters can be delivered to the doorsteps of JD’s customers in China in as little as 48 hours from Canada.
Lobsters are part of a new, specially curated selection of Canada’s best products that will be available over time on JD. At a meeting today at JD’s Beijing Headquarters to mark the cooperation, JD’s founder and CEO Richard Liu told David Johnston, governor general of Canada; John McCallum, Canadian ambassador to China; and other dignitaries from Canada’s government and private sector that Chinese consumers rightly associate Canada’s products with purity, quality and freshness.
“Chinese consumers truly appreciate Canadian brands and the freshness of their produce, and that means huge opportunities for Canada,” Mr. Liu told the Canadian delegation. “We sold an amazing 4.5 million Canadian shrimp during our recent anniversary sale, so the possibilities are immense. JD knows how to work with brands and producers and help them tap into the enormous potential of the Chinese market.”
As part of the event, Mr. Johnston witnessed an MOU signing between JD and Destination Canada. The two sides will work to promote Chinese tourism to Canada. JD and Air Canada announced that the two sides will offer discounted flights to fliers from Beijing and Shanghai to cities throughout Canada and other parts of the Americas.
Overall interest in Canadian products has grown in popularity among Chinese consumers and on JD.com in recent years. During JD’s 2017 anniversary sale in June, the 4.5 million shrimp sold made the product the number one imported fresh food during the event. Overall during the event, sales of Canadian fresh products increased 480% compared to a year earlier and for the full year of 2016, Canadian fresh product sales increased 400%.
Unthinkable only a few years ago, satisfying China’s hunger for fresh food and other imported products is possible today because JD’s advanced logistics capabilities now covers some 98% of China’s population and because its advanced cold-chain systems ensure items remain fresh from the point of origin to the customer’s home.
On Friday JD sold 140,000 live Canadian lobsters within 24 hours as it launched a special Canadian promotion today, significantly exceeding expectations. The impact on Canadian suppliers was huge.
“We sold half of our entire inventory of 1 to 1.25 lb lobsters, far more than what we anticipated, ” said Nathan Song, director at New Brunswick-based Bay Shore Lobster Ltd., which offered nine categories of lobsters, between 1-9 lbs, for the JD.com promotion. “It can be hard for people to understand just how much demand there is in China for fresh imported products. For some, it’s unfathomable. We originally expected our inventory to last through September, but we’ll sell out much sooner than that now. The industry will surely see prices go up.”
Beyond fresh products, JD.com customers are increasingly welcoming of imported apparel brands, particularly in the activewear and outdoor categories where Canadian brands excel. On June 18th, the culmination of JD’s anniversary sale, the company sold more than a million sports apparel and footwear items.
The event at the JD Beijing Headquarters marks a step in a larger effort by the company to help more Canadian brands seize on the tremendous potential of the Chinese consumer market. Later this month, JD will be hosting business seminars for Canadian brands and companies interested in reaching JD’s more than 236 million active customers. Events will take place in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver the last week of July. Brands interested in attending should contact: Worldwide@JD.com