Kiwis Return to China from New Zealand to Find Huge Demand
A new collaboration between JD.com and New Zealand’s Zespri will send more kiwifruits to their place of origin: China
JD.com, China’s largest online retailer, is launching a direct sales flagship store for imported Zespri kiwifruits following a blockbuster year for sales of the fruit on the site. To commemorate the new collaboration, JD.com’s 226.6 million customers will get early access to the first kiwifruit harvest of the 2017, which begins this month. And with JD.com’s state-of-the-art logistics network, shoppers who buy the fruit can receive their orders on the same day or next day in tier-1 and 2 cities.
Most people assume that Kiwis are originally from New Zealand, but in fact they originate from China. They didn’t become a popular fruit, however, until after they spread to New Zealand in the early 20th Century, where they were originally known as “Chinese gooseberries.” (Read all about it in this article from 1985 by Steve Lohr of The New York Times.)
Regarded as a superfruit because of its high fiber, potassium and vitamin C content, kiwifruits became popular among American servicemen in New Zealand during World War II, and were eventually renamed after New Zealand’s national bird. They have since become one of the country’s biggest exports.
In recent years, the fruit has enjoyed something of a homecoming as they are increasingly used for making fruit juice and yogurt, and Chinese consumers’ appetites for imported fruits grow. In 2016, kiwis accounted for approximately 15% of all fruit sold by JD.com, a huge proportion given the booming online sales of more traditionally popular fruits in China like bananas, apples, pineapples, and local favorites like pomelos and loquats. Meanwhile, China is one of the fastest growing markets for Zespri globally, with exports to the market increasing 30% last year.
The soaring popularity of kiwis comes as Chinese consumers are increasingly buying products from abroad. To meet the dramatic increase in consumer spending on imported produce over the last few years, JD.com has leveraged its global reach to make it easier than ever for consumers to buy imported goods.
The partnership with Zespri will be supported by FruitDay, China’s leading produce importer. JD.com became a strategic investor in FruitDay in 2015, and works with FruitDay to develop innovative e-commerce sales strategies targeting the China market for global fruit producers. The partnership with FruitDay enables JD customers to enjoy the benefits of the company’s outstanding global cold-chain logistics expertise, which ensures fruit from abroad arrives in the best possible condition.
Consumers appreciate both the high quality that brands like Zespri offer, and the ability to deliver fresh produce right to their doors at amazing speeds, which result in the amazing growth of fresh produce category. The partnership is a big step for helping Zespri tap into the Chinese consumer market.