China’s salmon imports to grow as Alibaba signs deal with Norwegian Seafood Council

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Hema Fresh, Alibaba Group’s online-to-offline food chain, signed an agreement with the Norwegian Seafood Council to increase salmon imports.

In a press release Victoria Braathen, the council’s director for the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong said:

“Norwegian Seafood Council and Hema share the common goal of providing quality seafood to the consumers. We are very pleased to form this partnership and look forward to future cooperation.”

Chinese consumption of salmon is expected to reach 240,000 tons by 2025, making China one of the top salmon export markets for the Nordic nation, executives from Hema and the agency said during a signing ceremony in Shanghai.

Under the direct procurement agreement, all Atlantic salmon from Norway will be transported by air to China within 72 hours, during which they have adequate protection and refrigerant to maintain a refrigerator environment, or between 0 to 4 degrees, said Huang Ling, global direct procurement director for fresh produce at Hema.

Technologies allow shipments to be tracked and logged upon arrival. The fish will be then pre-processed and packaged in China before going on shelves.

Coined in 2017 by founder Jack Ma Yun, Hema is China’s move to “new retail” concept, which is Alibaba’s hope to unite the online and offline world in a single value chain, offering customers a one-stop food experience. Products such as seafood (cooked and fresh) are purchased only through an app – with a delivery, pick up, or eat in store option. Each Hema store still will also double up as a distribution centre.